FIFE Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume hailed his team’s East Coast Cup win over Dundee Stars as the result of their season so far.
After struggling to keep pace with Stars in the opening exchanges, Dutiaume’s team roared back to claim a deserved 5-2 win to maintain their unbeaten record in three games against four-import Elite League opposition.
Dutiaume told SportsPress: “We knew we’d up against it and the first 10 minutes was a different pace altogether to what we even played in Edinburgh – and we struggled to adjust.
“But the guys stuck with it, and the longer we went on the better we were getting. For us, it’s just about the result of the season.
“I’m chuffed to bits with the way everyone has stepped up to the plate in this competition. The guys are playing out their skins right now.
“It’s a good treat for fans – the cheer at the end was incredible – and it really helps the players’ confidence. Guys are starting to get self-belief.”
The challenge posed by the East Coast Cup has sparked new life into Flyers season, and Dutiaume wants nights like Saturday to become the norm.
“Maybe Edinburgh and Dundee don’t look on it as being too serious, but to us, this is one of the highlights of the season,” he said.
“It’s a big thing for these guys to go out there and play against four top quality imports doing well in the Elite League and get a result.
“People think these imports should be able to just side-step our guys, but we were hardly rolled over.
“Maybe I’ve almost under-estimated our abilities. I’m keeping a level-head about it, but it shows my guys are gagging for a challenge.
“All they want is to be challenged like that every time they go on the ice. Sometimes they’ll win, sometimes they’ll lose, but that’s what hockey is all about.”
Dutiaume believes his players have proved they are capable of stepping into a more challenging league.
“People have always questioned who I would keep if we went to a proper league with imports,” he said. “Now the debate should be who can I get rid of?
“Complacency has set in and we’ve lost leagues and trophies we shouldn’t have, but throw a challenge in front of us and we’ll rise to it.”