Flyers are the hottest ticket in the UK

Flyers score their fourth goal - Fife Flyers against Dundee Stars in the play-off quarter final at Fife Ice Arena, Kirkcaldy. 1414036.
Flyers score their fourth goal - Fife Flyers against Dundee Stars in the play-off quarter final at Fife Ice Arena, Kirkcaldy. 1414036.

The stats are stunning - 13 wins in 16 starts, and six victories in a row - but they don’t tell the full story of Fife Flyers’ play-off campaign.

This is a team that was 11 points adrift, written off, and toying with the wooden spoon just two months ago.

It had more points than the 2012-13 line-up, but still the season was in danger of just petering out.

The weight of expectation of a 75th anniversary season sat heavily on their shoulders, and, just as everyone accepted the play-off ship was setting sail without them, the team found its groove.

It condensed a season of hockey into two dramatic, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat months.

Time after time they went to the wire - overtime, penalty shots and sudden death shoot-outs - and every time they emerged victorious.

More than one post-game media briefing with Todd Dutiaume started with a wry shake of the head, a smile and a light-hearted ‘‘well, just another day at the office ...’’ as we reflected on Flyers’ mastery of walking a tightrope with no safety net.

For me, a key turning point - one of several - came in Dundee in mid-March when Flyers scored a huge 4-3 win on the second round of sudden death penalties.

Ned Luckacevic - the mercurial, talented forward with more tricks than a conjuror - sank the winning shot and led the celebrations in his now trademark style.

Until that moment, they couldn’t buy a win on Dundee .

Suddenly, things changed. Momentum had moved to this side of the Tay, and with it, came the notion that this team might - just might - just do it.

The next weekend they went to Braehead, stormed into a thrilling lead and then got pinned on the ropes.

Like a boxer desperately trying to avoid the KO punch, Flyers came perilously close to a season-ending defeat, and still emerged with another penalty shots victory.

But this wasn’t a team, just riding its luck. It was calm under pressure, confident in its own abilities, and, perhaps above all, it found the enjoyment that comes with winning hockey games night after night.

When Clive Woodward steered England to rugby’s world Cup he coined the phrase T-Cup - thinking correctly under pressure.

That pretty much sums up Flyers’ approach to the last two months of the season.

When rock-solid leads slipped, they didn’t panic. When the clock wound down they had a clear plan when to pull Regan.

When it went to overtime they knew they’d win. When penalty shots arrived the outcome, in their mind, was simply never in doubt.

Sure it was a bit hairy from time to time as they chirped back at opponents, got mired in penalty trouble and occasionally lost focus, but the underlying momentum - the energy that dictates hockey games - never deserted them.

Their reward - and one thoroughly deserved by every single person in the dressing-room - is a cracking tie against the champs, Belfast Giants.

Nottingham is a first class place to play hockey - the perfect setting for a semi-final match which will almost certainly see Fife enjoy the support of the whole arena, minus Giants travelling support.

Getting there has been a remarkable journey, but even on Sunday, in the minutes after qualifying, Dutiaume knew the job wasn’t done.

‘‘Two more games to go,’’ he said. ‘‘Anything can happen ... and we are a hot hockey team right now’’

Wembley ‘85, British champions in the Plumb era ... 2000 and Mark Morrison’s Grand Slam ... and now Flyers stand two games from adding a new chapter to the club’s history books.

What a stunning way to celebrate their 75th anniversary that would be.