Carlo Finucci is still taking great delight in proving his doubters wrong despite becoming one of the top marksmen in the Elite League.
The 31-year-old forward is enjoying a superb second season in Fife, and hit the 50-point mark thanks to a stunning hat-trick against Nottingham Panthers on Saturday.
His man of the match performance was as good as anything an individual player has produced in recent years as he carried his injury-ravaged team to a monumental victory.
Finucci had to overcome the stigma of making the step up from the old second tier EPL, but his form, particularly this season, has left his doubters eating humble pie.
“I didn’t feel like I should’ve been in that league,” Finucci said, reflecing on his time in the EPL.
“Different circumstances that off-season meant I ended up there, but I wanted to prove I could play at a decent level again, and Fife gave me that chance last year.
“This season I wanted to build on that, especially coming back to the same league, where there’s no breaking in period. I knew the systems, coaching staff and some returning guys so I just needed to build on how I finished last year. I figured that was going to be important for me.
“As a player you want to lead the league scoring and all that stuff, but the thing that motivates me is seeing stuff on social media from last year, and even into the summer.
“It just puts a little fire in the belly, and it’s a big thing for me to get myself going.
“I’ve got added responsibilities this year, with more time on the powerplay, and I think I’ve proven a lot of people wrong.
“Maybe the people who are still unproven are now teetering a little bit towards me! That’s kind of what I set out to do, keep proving people wrong.
“I feel like I’ve been doing that from since I was younger, and if you’re doing that, it means you’re doing the right things.”
Finucci did enough last season to earn a return to Fife, but he agrees that he has taken his game to another level this term with 21 goals and 29 assists in 43 games thus far.
“I expected that from myself,” he said. “I definitely knew I had that in me, and I think there’s still more to add as well. It’s been a pretty solid season, consistent I’d say, and I’m really happy with it so far.
“I’d like to finish it off on a high so I’m going to try and up my game as much as I can for the last 11 games or so going into play-offs.”
Finucci is also delighted to have played his part in bringing the Gardiner Conference title to Kirkcaldy.
“Last Sunday in Dundee was one of the crazier games I’ve been part of,” he said.
“We didn’t do it the prettiest way, but we got it done and it’s nice to get that over with especially now with the injuries we’ve picked up as it could’ve made it a little tighter.
“We can just worry about getting healthy now and playing the right way leading into play-offs.
“While it would’ve been a good party after the game on Saturday win or lose, to get those two points and ride it out into the celebrations on the ice was pretty amazing.
“It’s special to be part of the first trophy win for this team in the Elite League.”