Carlo Finucci’s inclusion in Fife Flyers’ roster raised eyebrows but the gamble of including the former Las Vegas Wranglers player has already paid out.
The 29-year-old answered his doubters in emphatic style in the Braehead cauldron on Sunday with a game-clinching goal following a pass from ex-Clan player Richard Jackman with 2.56 left in sudden-death overtime which clinched a hard-earned, 4-3 Challenge cup, Group A, victory.
And the man who played 41 games for Swindon Wildcats of the English Premier League last season, scoring 30 goals and collecting 19 assists, always believed he could make an impact in the Elite League.
Finucci was quick to praise his team-mates who all stood tall to come back from 1-0 and 2-1 down and who also suffered the disappointment of going 3-2 ahead with nine minutes left but losing an equalising goal with six minutes remaining.
The gritty player from Burnaby, British Columbia, firmly believes there is more to come from new-look Flyers and himself and he is determined to repay the faith shown in him by Fife’s head coach, Todd Dutiaume.
Finucci said: “I always believed I could play at a higher level and did not get an opportunity last season.
“Fife have given me an amazing chance and I am determined to work hard to repay their faith in me.”
The Kirkcaldy club has made a stunning start to the new campaign following back-to-back weekend wins over two of the biggest clubs in the Elite League.
Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Belfast Giants before a bumper 2500-plus at The Fife Ice Arena was backed-up by the road win at busy Braehead.
Now Dutiaume’s men face a massive test by visiting Northern Ireland in their third Challenge Cup, Group A, fixture on Saturday.
Finucci, a former University of Alaska-Fairbanks stand-out who has also iced for Danish side, Rungsted Seier Capital, will remember his first Elite League goal for the rest of his career.
He recalled picking up the puck and noting that Clan were making a change and he added: “We moved up the ice and found ourselves in a two-on-one situation.
“The puck was rolling and I did not want to risk making a pass so I fired it towards goal and was really happy when it went in.
“It was a great way for the team to win and the boys worked so hard throughout the game, killing penalties and we also had great goaltending from Shane (Owen).”