An opening night shut-out, an EIHL debut hat-trick and a bumper crowd of 2500 which went home buzzing. Fife Flyers couldn’t have scripted it any better themselves.
While they went down 4-1 in Coventry tonight, their 6-0 scalping of Blaze, the play-off champions, will surely go down as one of the results of the weekend.
It was by far their single best return from the first night of any season since their return to the EIHL, and, over and above the wow factor of the result, the fans went home thrilled by the performance - it was gutsy, intense, competitive and relentless.
And it’s those qualities which will be integral to success for Flyers this season.
David Brown savoured the shut out while Jeff Lee bagged the hat-trick as Chuck Weber’s tough, talented side found themselves in something of a maelstrom at a noisy Fife Ice Arena.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, put the win down to good preparation.
‘‘This was the best prepared we have been since we came into the EIHL,’’ he said. ‘‘Credit to the directors who gave us the go ahead to go with full quota of imports and get them in early. Having everyone in advance rather than patching things up at the last minute made all the difference in the world.’’
‘‘But ... let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We won a hockey game. We won it soundly.’’
If Saturday was the perfect start then Sunday’s game underlined there’s still work to be done.
In a tight game at the Skydome, Flyers trailed 1-0 to a superb Ashley Tait strike after ten minutes - the only counter in two periods of tight hockey in which former Flyer Ned Lukacevic missed a penalty shot, his flick coming off the pads of David Brown.
Blaze finally cracked the game open with two goals early in the third, with Tanaka’s the poick of the bunch for 3-0 after 44 minutes.
Flyers weathered some pressure before Michael Dorr opened their account, but the game was sealed by Neil Trimm with under five minutes to go.
Overall, however, the positives outweighed the negatives in an opening weekend which saw Dundee Stars impress, and newcomers Manchester Storm destroy Edinburgh Capitals 8-1.
Dutiaume will go into the week with an upbeat dressing-room and the confidence that the team built over summer has the quality to make a mark this season.
‘‘We talked about setting a marker for the season,’’ he said, ‘‘and they’ve now set the bar high.
‘’I have a feeling that we have a really good group of hard working guys which looks out for each other rather than play as individuals. My feeling is they have a can-do attitude.’’
That will be put to the test this coming weekend with the first clash with fierce rivals Braehead Clan.
There’s every chance the rink will record its first full house of the season too - ticket details from www.fifeflyers.co.uk or the ice rink box office.