Fife Flyers centreman Chris Auger is hoping to get back to his best for the play-off push after making his long-awaited return from injury.
Auger had been missing from the Flyers line-up since picking up an injury in a freak incident that saw him body-checked through the Cardiff Devils team bench door in a match at Fife Ice Arena on December 19.
The 27-year-old returned at the weekend as Flyers followed a 5-2 defeat in Belfast on Saturday with a 5-4 penalty shots win over the Giants in the return game in Kirkcaldy on Sunday.
Auger admitted that he is not yet back to 100 per cent, but hopes he can quickly rediscover the form that took him to third-top in the scoring charts in the Elite League at the time of his injury.
“It was a long six weeks, to say the least,” he told the Press.
“It’s been pretty helter-skelter situation with the mis-diagnosis then having to start back from square one.
“It was a good feeling to be back on the ice - you miss it when you’re not playing so I was pretty excited to come back.
“Obviously I didn’t feel quite 100 per cent but it’ll get better as the weeks go on.
“Belfast play a high paced game so it was a baptism by fire but hopefully it was good stepping stone back towards the game I want to play.
“I’ll be sore - I’ll have that soreness for the rest of the year but everybody is going to have those aches and pains as the season goes on.
“We’re coming down the stretch now and we need all bodies.
“I’m only going to get stronger and more comfortable with my game as each week goes on.
“It was an unfortunate incident when I got hurt - a one in a million chance to go through a door like that - but I feel better now and I’ll get some more rehab this week and then go again next weekend.”
Auger’s injury has given him a chance to view the team from behind the bench and he believes the players need to hold each other accountable for their performances.
“We have a lot of issues that we had before, but we’re slowly coming around and hopefully peaking at the right time,” he said.
“It’s consistency with this team. We have to be consistent on a nightly basis.
“It’s all about the guys in the room. Once you’re able to hold each other accountable, that’s where it starts.
“If you keep the pace up then it becomes more evident when others aren’t, then it turns onto their shoulders to pick it up.
“We want to create a competitive atmosphere where guys want to be out there getting on the top powerplay unit and getting top minutes.
“We need to have that competitive spirit night in, night out, and not just rely on one or two people to bring it every night.”
Auger insists he is not concerned by losing his status as one of the EIHL’s top scorers, and he also advised his team mates against putting individual stats before the team.
“I always want to contibute and help the team,” he said.
“Those kind of stats take care of themselves with a team’s success.
“Obviously when you’re looking for jobs in the summer those kind of things come into play and it would have been nice to compete for the top scorer.
“But it’s not about that.
“When the team wins everyone will get what they deserve, like Sunday, when everything was spread around.
“The mentality we have to create is that with hard work and a winning mentality, everyone’s individual success will take care of itself.
“And then everyone be able to look in mirror and be happy with where they are points-wise.”