Ice hockey players can be notorious for checking their stats, but Fife Flyers forward Evan Bloodoff was none the wiser about his status as the joint leading goalscorer in the Elite League.
The 27-year-old Canadian was pleasantly surprised to find out that he shares top spot in the charts with Coventry Blaze forward Marc-Olivier Vallerand, both with 25 goals, although Bloodoff has played three games less.
“Am I? For what, goals? Really. Wow,” was his reaction when the Press informed him of his place in the goal-scoring charts this week. He is obviously just too focused on the job in hand!
“I don’t know, pucks have just been going in for me lately,” he said. “I’ve been going to work in front of the net, pucks have been laying there and I’ve been tapping a few in.
“I feel like I’m in my element over here with the bigger ice. It’s been going really well so far.”
Bloodoff’s goal-scoring exploits are certainly no coinicidence.
Aside from being one of the hardest working players on the ice, the former Arizona Coyotes draft pick is also one of the bravest, consistently found in the unappealing ‘dirty area’ in front of the net, putting himself in harm’s way to get his reward.
“That’s the spot I play on the powerplay too,” Bloodoff explained.
“We’re trying to get shots in there and I’m trying to bang home the rebounds.
“That’s where I like to do my work, but it’s not fun at times.
“Even in practice too it’s tough sometimes when you’re getting hit with pucks all the time.
“In games, you’ve got their D-man cross-checking you and trying to get you out of the way. Even the goalie will sometimes give you a tap on the legs.
“It’s pretty tough, but the hard work has been paying off. I’ll keep standing in there, and take as much abuse as I can.
“I want to win every game, so I’ll do whatever it takes.
“If I’ve got to take a few chops in front of the net, and not take a penalty, then that’s what I’ve got to do to help the team win.”
Bloodoff, who scored a double in Sunday’s crucial 3-2 win over Nottingham Panthers, also puts a lot of his success down to his team mates.
“We’ve been playing with the same lines all year and the chemistry is great,” he said.
“That’s very unusual to me because I’m used to playing with different guys every shift almost.
“We’re all just really comfortable playing with each other and we’re having some pretty good success.”
Bloodoff is preparing for two big conference matches this weekend against Braehead Clan, a team who have yet to beat Fife in a competitive fixture season after their initial success in a heated pre-season encounter in August.
“They are a big rival of ours and we’ve done well against them,” Bloodoff added.
“It’s just something about them, we like beating them.
“That first game in pre-season set the tone for us. We like beating them ever since then.
“They’ll be doing their homework on us but we’ll be ready for them.
“Our goal this weekend is four points and that would be huge.”