Did Fife Flyers miss a golden opportunity to ignite their season at the weekend?
A home win and a one-goal loss on the road isn’t the worst of returns - particularly in a league which has served up topsy-turvey results almost weekly, and certainly not from a team that has defined the word ‘inconsistency’ at times this season - but a clean sweep of the points would have made a huge impact on the standings.
Victories over conference rivals Manchester and Dundee would have shown up best in the standings.
A four-point sweep would have given Flyers a clear lead at the top of the Gardiner Conference - two points ahead of Stars going into the busy and often crucial festive programme.
Instead they trail Stars by two, and the Dundee side have two games in hand. A potential tipping point in the race for conference honours?
In the EIHL, that same four-point sweep would have pushed Fife to within four points of fifth placed Stars with a game in hand.
It would also have widened the gap on Edinburgh to four at a time when Riley Emmerson’s side have hit a form slump and lost most of the ground they gained early on. They now sit eighth, two points behind Fife and with three games more played.
That’s the difference one goal made at the weekend - a 5-4 loss in Dundee on a night when they led 3-1 and seemed to be on course for a four-point sweep.
In the great scheme of things there’s still plenty of time, and hockey, to repair the damage.
The league is incredibly tight. The permutations too great to make any announcements with a degree of confidence.
It’s just in this league you have to maximise your returns when the opportunities arise.
A four-point weekend means movement up the standings and brings a bit of a feelgood factor back to the rink which is slowly thawing out after a rough sequence of defeats.
The good news is they have another huge opportunity to do it this weekend - in fact a glance at the festive schedules throws up the possibility of six big points, with four coming on the road … and all of ‘em against conference opposition.
Caps visit Kirkcaldy on Saturday following by a Sunday road trip to Altrincham to face a Manchester Storm who’ve slipped quietly to the bottom of the table.
Once again Fife will have a cracking travelling support with a full bus and many heading south by car for a festive day down the M6 - the sheer enjoyment of the last visit, which yielded an excellent win, and the warm welcome at the Altrincham rink, probably inspiring a few to abandon families and festive duties for the day!
Many more will certainly make the elongated journey over the Kincardine Bridge for the Hogmanay showdown at Murrayfield - a fixture that has been rudely and vigorously revived in recent years
While fans look for a win and a return home to prepare for the bells, Fife’s coaching staff have to be studying the form books, looking at the rosters facing them and thinking to themselves they can see real progress being made.
They need to shoot for a clean sweep of the points before turning into 2016 to prepare for the visit of Braehead Clan.
Do that and this hockey season will take on a very different look indeed … do that and the force will awaken.