CHRIS Wands is so used to playing in an under-strength Fife Flyers line-up that it’s all second nature to him now.
The defenceman was thrown in at the deep end last year as an under-resourced and injury-ravaged Flyers team made its debut in the Elite League.
This season, with 10 imports and six D-men on the roster, some of the pressure, and ice time, has been taken off the 24-year-old.
However, a combination of suspension, injury and illness left Flyers without three key players over the weekend and the likes of Wands were thrust back into the front line.
It’s a situation the team is all too familiar with, and despite a valiant effort on home ice on Saturday, Flyers went down to a 6-3 defeat to the Sheffield Steelers.
The Press caught up with Wands after the match.
“We knew we were short-staffed and that everyone would have to show up and battle hard, and that’s what we did,” he said.
“It looked good for us at 2-0 up and then again when Hamish pulled it back to 3-3, but it was just a shame that some dodgy calls let them back in the game.
“It was good to get more ice time again, although it felt like last season at times.
“It seems like we always have somebody injured. There’s always one thing or another keeping somebody out of the line-up.
“Hopefully we’ll get the whole team fit soon and we’ll be able to get back on a winning run because it’s a big time of the season.”
Wands recovered from a shaky start to emerge as one of the success stories of last season.
After initially being subjected to criticsm, his ever-improving performances won the fans over, and he even collected the Top Brit award at the club’s trophy presentation night.
“It was sink or swim last season and we didn’t do too badly considering it was our first season in the league,” Wands said.
“This season has been a lot more enjoyable because we’ve got more guys in, and we’ve been winning games.
“I’ve not had the best of season’s personally, but hopefully I can keep getting better.
“We’re not facing the top guys so much this year because we’re matching lines.
“We’re often out against other teams third lines, so it should be easier, but there’s never an easy night in this league!”