Flyers coach defends team after zero point weekend

Jamie Milam misses open net - Dundee Stars v Fife Flyers - February 8, 2015. Pic: Steve Gunn
Jamie Milam misses open net - Dundee Stars v Fife Flyers - February 8, 2015. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has defended his team’s performances over a zero point weekend insisting: “We weren’t terrible.”

Flyers failed to collect a point against the Elite League’s bottom two clubs, losing 5-2 in Edinburgh on Saturday and failing to score a goal in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat in Dundee.

However, Dutiaume felt that the performances were not as bad as the scorelines may have suggested.

“I was really disappointed and frustrated by not winning those games,” he told the Press.

“But looking back at the tape, apart from the two giveaways in Edinburgh, we had pucks all around their net.

“We came up against two hot goalies and pucks just weren’t going in.

“In those tight games you have to find a way to score.

“We weren’t a terrible team over the weekend, but things weren’t working and we never got on stride.

“Teams will make you pay if that’s the case.

“It maybe wasn’t as bad as I initially thought, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

“We recognise how important these points were and how we need points out of every weekend.

“We’ll look to get back on track this weekend and go after them.”

Dutiaume hopes the weekend results will provoke a response from his players, adding: “It’s a wake-up call to these guys.

“I’ve said all along when we come out and do all the little things, are selfless and play as a unit, this team is capable of beating anybody.

“But if we have a couple of guys who have an off night or we get frustrated because the puck doesn’t go in early, we become a different club at times.

“We have to find that mental strength that allows us to stick in these hockey games because down the stretch here the games are going to be a battle. They’ll be tight and low-scoring.

“That’s something we’re gong to have to mentally battle through because physically we’re just about all healthy. The guys are in pretty good shape. We’ve worked hard on that lately.

“Now it’s a mental game, and finding a good level of consistency - which is what you should expect out of yourself as a professional athlete.”

Flyers get a second bite at Dundee Stars this Saturday as the Taysiders visit Fife Ice Arena, before the journey to Hull on Sunday.

Dutiaume revealed that he will mix up the lines in training this week in an attempt to give his team a spark.

“We’ll tinker with lines and see if we can get these guys a buzz,” he said.

“I’m quite happy with how the lines were going - up until last weekend our generation of offence was great.

“Sometimes you just have an off weekend where guys don’t score.

“But we’ll switch up the lines in practice, see how they feel, and make the decisions on Friday.

“All these guys are familiar with each other so they should be able to play with each other.”

Flyers could be without defenceman Matt Nickerson who is suffering from an upper body injury that saw him miss chunks of last weekend as well as this week’s training.

Dutiaume added: “It’s something we’re keeping an eye on. We’re hoping it’s something minor that doesn’t affect us long term.”