Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has called on his players to raise their game ahead of their toughest weekend of the season so far.
Flyers are preparing for three big matches in 72 hours starting with Braehead Clan away on Friday, followed by Cardiff Devils at home on Saturday, before a trip to Nottingham Panthers on Sunday.
The Kirkcaldy side has won five and lost four of nine matches so far, and is sitting in a decent position in the Elite League, Gardiner Conference and Challenge Cup standings.
But after a disappointing weekend where an out of sorts Flyers needed penalty shots to overcome Manchester Storm at home, before losing 2-1 away to Dundee Stars, Dutiaume is demanding more from his players.
“The weekend overall was a little disappointing for us,” he told the Press. “It was a little bit lacklustre and piecemeal at times.
“We’ve addressed that and the guys know we have a lot better. It seems to be common mistakes that are killing us.”
Dutiaume has stressed the need for a patient approach after identifying that his team has become too susceptible to opposition counter attacks.
“We’re losing an awful lot of goals off the rush and we’ve altered our training to change that,” he said.
“We can’t be giving up odd man rushes all the time, it will kill us. It’s up to us to hold ourselves accountable.
“We’ve really cautioned these guys to show a little bit of patience. We know our chances will come. We have the offensive power in the room.
“We don’t have to score in the first two minutes of a game to win it, but sometimes we psychologically feel that way.”
Dutiaume has encouraged his players to go for the full six points this weekend, starting with two Challenge Cup points against Braehead tomorrow (Friday) that would all but clinch Flyers place in the quarter-finals.
“Going into Braehead’s home opener will be an interesting experience,” Dutiaume said. “They’ve been toiling a little bit but they play well in that building. If we want any success in our conference aspirations we’re going to have to take points out of that building at some point this year.
“We certainly need a point or two to secure advancement in the Challenge Cup so Friday is a big night for us.
“We come back to a Cardiff team that’s always in the mix at the top of the league. We went down and lost to them a few weeks back but in our building it will be a different story.
“Then we have a Nottingham team who are top of the league, and playing some awfully good hockey, so we’ll have to be at our best.
“It’s three completely different teams but three tough matches. We’ll take them head on and one game at a time.”