Flyers netminder says EIHL accolade belongs to entire team

Fife Flyers netminder Andy Iles. Pic: Steve Gunn
Fife Flyers netminder Andy Iles. Pic: Steve Gunn

Andy Iles was named Elite League Player of the Week, but the Fife Flyers netminder insists the credit belongs to the entire team.

Iles saved 43 shots on Sunday night to help Flyers record a notable 3-1 away win at Sheffield Arena to continue a superb run of form that has also included recent victories in Cardiff and Nottingham.

The 25-year-old is currently ranked among the top goaltenders in the EIHL with a save percentage of .913, but he is remaining modest.

“Goalie is one of those weird positions where you reap the rewards of team success,” he said.

“You’re on an island out on your crease and for better or worse people take notice of that.

“If you’re having a successful year as a team, the goaltender is going to benefit from that.

“But it’s not about me, it’s really about this group and I truly feel the success of our team is as a collective unit.

“When we come together it’s a fun team to play for, and a really dangerous hockey team.”

Flyers are conceding on average just 2.7 goals per game – only Sheffield have a better ratio in the EIHL – and while Iles has certainly played his part, he also puts it down to the players in front of him.

“Our D-zone has been incredible,” he said.

“We’re really minimising chances.

“I think on most nights we’re creating more chances than we’re giving up, and when you do that over the long course of the year, it’s going to lead to positive results.

“That starts with our defencemen but they get a lot of support from the guys up front, with forwards on back pressure, end zone awareness, and everyone really sticking to their assignments.

“The guys out there have really done a great job of focusing on the details, keeping the game as simple as possible, and then when we get a chance try to take advantage of it.”

Iles believes the performance in Sheffield summed up the traits of this Fife team.

“Sheffield has been in a little bit of a lull lately, so they pushed hard and pressed, but we pushed right back and capitalised on the chances we had,” he said.

“We kept them to the outside, and made the game pretty simple on myself.

“As a goalie you sometimes have to go on the road and come up with a few big saves, but for the most part every single one of us battled hard and beat a good hockey team on the road.

“We’re focusing on two things right now – we want to out-compete everyone, and we want to have fun.

“When we have fun we play our best hockey.

“We’re a group that’s pretty loose, but that leads to confidence, and when we have the work ethic to go with it, we think we’re a pretty good hockey team.”

Flyers current form has led to them being tipped as potential dark-horses in the EIHL title race.

“That’s why you play - to win silverware,” he said.

“Every one of us has the competitive itch inside of us and that’s why we love to play this game.

“Every chance you get to win a hockey game you try to make the most of it.

“If we’re doing the right things, sticking to the game plan, competing and having fun that’s going to lead to some positive results.

“This is one of the most tight-knit groups I’ve played with. We really enjoy going into bat for each other, and we have this mind-set where we have a balanced team. It’s a next man up attitude.

“One night it might be one guy who steps up, next night someone else.

“We’re getting everyone on board for the most part and when we do that I like the hockey team we put on the ice.”