FIFE Flyers’ early season momentum continued with back-to-back home wins at the weekend – despite a lousy week of training.
Defenceman Jeff Caister revealed that head coach Todd Dutiaume and assistant Danny Stewart came down hard on the players in the build-up to the games against Dundee Stars and Coventry Blaze for showing slackness in practice.
Their tongue-lashing did the trick as Flyers claimed another two wins to wrack up a second successive four-point weekend, but with a long season ahead, Caister admits that the team cannot afford to let complacency creep into either training, or games.
“The key is not getting complacent – but I don’t think this group will,” Caister told the Press. “Todd and Danny are constantly on us. Last week we didn’t have the best week of practice, and they let us know it wasn’t acceptable.
“They reminded us that just because we’d won a couple of games, it didn’t mean we could take anything for granted – we’re not that type of team.
“We have to work hard every single night. If our practice habits can get better, we’ll continue to improve every time we’re out there.”
Caister is revelling in Flyers’ winning start to the season, but he is not getting carried away.
“This start is something special, but we’ve got to keep reminding ourselves that it is only eight games into the year,” he said.
“We haven’t done anything yet, but it’s a good start, and we’re going in the right direction.
“We’ve been working hard over the first month and we’re seeing some results.
“It’s just great fun to be playing hockey when it’s going like this.”
Team bonding, Caister revealed, has been one of the key factors behind Flyers’ early season success.
“It’s not just the wins, everyone is buying into the system and there is real good team morale,” he said.
“Everyone seems to like each other, and we can tell from the fans reactions that they are ecstatic too.
“We knew we had a good team and the players to compete this year, but I don’t think we realistically thought we would start off this hot.
“Right now, we’re taking teams by surprise, and it’s just a matter of trying to keep improving and getting the wins.
“We don’t have a full number of imports, but we’ll never use that an excuse. Our Brits come out and battle every night.”
Flyers were comfortable 5-2 winners over Dundee on Saturday but they had to dig deep for a penalty shots win over Coventry on Sunday.
“When you don’t have the legs and you’re mentally tired you still have to go out and grind out the two points,” Caister said.
“Hockey is tough on the body and there’s going to be nights when you’re not all there. Sunday was one of those nights but we dug deep and got the job done.
“We’ve done that two or three times now and that’s a sign of a good team.”
Such is the confidence levels in the Flyers camp that Caister now expects to beat league champions Belfast Giants in Kirkcaldy this Sunday.
“With the start we’ve had, and where our confidence is right now, we’re totally expecting to win,” he said.
“We expect to beat everyone right now – especially in this old barn which is such an advantage for us.”