‘‘A team gaining in confidence’’ was how Todd Dutiaume summed up Fife Flyers after another big four-point weekend concluded with a 7-2 demolition of Hull Stingrays.
The Kirkcaldy side continued to stalk the top eight for a place in the post-season play-offs. A target that seeemd remote just a few weeks ago is now on firmly on the radar - and they are still in control of their own destiny.
Some of their hockey against Hull was a joy to watch as they turned Stingrays inside out with each and every shift. It finished 7-2. It could easily have been much more. Hull had a look of desperation and bewilderment at times as they struggled to clear their zone. Mentally they they were back on the bus ong before the first kitbags were filled.
Flyers were 2-0 up inside ten minutes thanks to counters from Jordan Fulton and Justin Dacosta and then they went to town with a 3-1 middle period to effectively kill the game at 5-1.
The third at 23:56 came via one of their many sweeping passing movements down the ice; the puck thrown from left to right and back again for Tim Hartung to fire home.
The lively Ned Luckacevic saw a goal washed out as he one-timed the puck into the roof of the net and out again - the ref ruled it struck metalwork - but he finally got the goal his performance deserved at 36:14 after Derek Roehl chipped the puck up off the netminder for him to net with a mid-air swipe.
By then Gulliaaume Ducet had opened Hull’s account, but the English visitors were given no opportunity to come back into the game.
Hopes of respite before the break didn’t come - Matt Reber flew down the boards, threw the puck across the ice and Luckacevic struck with two seconds remaining for a 5-1 lead; a score which shattered what morale was left on the Stingrays bench.
The third saw Fife continue to skate with purpose - at times they were almost playing off the cuff with some slick stick work and quick movements which left defencemen spinning 360 degrees to try to grasp an elusive puck.
The impressive Matt Nickerson set the wheels in motion for number six at 48:18 as he broke up an attack, fed the tireless Danny Stewart whose pass through his skates was polished off by Fulton.
Stephen Gunn then made it seven after 54 minutes. Hull will be glad the scoring stopped at that point.
This was their second successive defeat at the hands of Fife in as many weeks - and it is those results which could make the play-off run-in spicier than many expected.
For Todd Dutiaume, the season is very much alive.
‘‘We had belief in the team, and we persisted,’’ he said. ‘‘The team is gaining in confidence, and this was a big weekend - a four point swing, and that feels really good.’’
He praised the performances along the bench- ‘‘hard to pick an MoM’’ - and added: ‘‘That’s three good weekends running so let’s hope it keeps going.
‘‘I am delighted for the guys.’’
>> Read Matt Elder’s in-depth interview with Todd Dutiaume and the thoughts of Justin DaCosta in this week’s Fife Free Press. Out on Thursday
>> Tweet your views on the hockey weekend to @mattelder_ffp for inclusion in this week’s Press.