Matt Reber has stressed that Fife Flyers must iron out their inconsistencies if they are to repeat last season’s run to the play-off finals weekend.
Flyers were ninth in the Elite League at this stage last season and looked set to miss out on the play-offs altogether until hitting a remarkable run of form in February that took them all the way to the semi-finals in Nottingham.
Flyers are in a better position this term - they are currently in sixth place and seven points ahead of ninth-placed Coventry - but Reber insists that the team cannot rely on another sudden purple patch.
“We seem to be in a routine here where we’ll come out and have a decent performance, then the next game we’ll lay an egg,” he told the Press.
“The consistency that we need if we want to not only maintain our current position but try to move up - we’re having a hard time finding it right now.
“A lot of people continue to harp back to last season’s run and that’s great because we have a lot of the same guys here and we remember that feeling.
“But it’s hard to have lightning strike on the same spot twice so we can’t just rely on that. We can’t just flick a switch and say it’s time to make a run for it.
“The onus is on to be doing the right things day in, day out and that’s the only way we’re going to get the results we want.”
A poor performance saw Flyers go down 6-3 at home to Hull on Saturday, but the team recovered to secure a hard-fought 3-2 win in Hull the following evening.
Reber, who has switched from the wing to centre in recent games, felt that he was at fault for some of the goals conceded on Saturday.
“I blame myself for a lot of those goals,” he said.
“I wasn’t good enough defensively and when we’re playing with two centres that’s where I need to concentrate most of my focus on, but it just wasn’t there - it wasn’t good enough.
“I’m maybe still settling into the position a little bit, but it’s still a hockey game and the object is still pretty simple - keep the puck out of your net, and put it in theirs.
“I think we get away from the simplicity of the game. We need to be more dangerous in the offensive zone and simplify things defensively.”
The weekend results summed up Flyers form at the moment - they are performing better on the road than they are at home - and Reber has no explanation for it.
“We have some of the best fans in the leauge so it’s not due to a lack of support,” he stressed. “I don’t know what it is.
“It’s good to know that we can win on the road because once play-offs come around we’re going to have to do that.
“But if we can find our form here at home I think we’ll be a dangerous team.
“We see glimpses of it - which I guess can be re-assuring in knowing it’s there.
“But we need to find a way to bring that sort of fire and desire game in game out.
“It’s not just about scoring goals - it’s the desire to win loose puck battles, block shots and do the little things that make a team successful.
“Once we start doing that we’ll feel a lot better about our game.”
Reber has picked up a clutch of man of the match awards recently - claiming four of the last seven up for grabs - but he insists they come second to the form of the team.
“They are nice to get - it’s a nice gesture - but for me the bottom line is wins and losses and right now we’re not getting enough wins,” he said.
“I need to be better and I think a lot of the guys would say the same.
“Nobody hates losing more than the guys in this locker room and I know a lot of guys are their own biggest critics so they will be looking in the mirror.”