When it takes until a hockey club goes 4-0 down before it wakes up, then it has a problem. A big one.
Credit to Fife Flyers’ defenceman Phil Paquet for deciding enough was enough. He harangued his team-mates on the bench, and went back out threw some hits, had a few slashes and forced a reaction of out Sheffield Steelers who had, until then, skated in cruise mode.
A clearly angry Paquet injected some much needed grit into Flyers’ all-too passive play, and also woke the bear in enforcer Zac Fitzgerald who ended up tripping the goalie, and having digs with Brendan Brooks and Russ Moyer en route to the bin.
And Fife scored on the PP - Matt Sisca flicking home a loose puck.
But we’d played 31 minutes by then, Flyers had been turned over umpteen times once again, outshot on home ice, and had coughed poor, soft goals to Steelers.
Worst of all, the fightback was snuffed out within minutes.
Bottom line, this isn’t good enough.
The sparkle from the opening weekend is a vague memory. The resilience of playing short handed and securing a double shut out is history.
The club needs an injection of passion and grit. It needs it now.
It has to build around its key players and leaders - the solid presence of netminder Shane Owen, the defensive rock that is Russ Moyer, and the heart, soul and commitment of Ryan Dingle.
And they need to do it now. No more ‘last chance saloon’ warnings. Action.
Shake up the room, bring in the right guys -and, for many fans, it’s plural - and this season can turn very quickly.
Do nothing, and the season, and the fans, may drift away in equal measure.
Flyers made a decent start to this game but were 2-0 down after six minutes as John Armstrong helped himself to a neat double.
They needed a good start to the second period. Coughing a goal in 20 seconds was the worst possible way to commence - Jesse Schultz making it 3-0 before most fans had taken their seats.
Defenceman David Philips made it 4-0 at 23:07 before Paquet single handedly tried to spark Fife into life with some big hits, a couple of slashes, and a tete-a-tete with Fitzgerald.
Sisca’s flick at 31:26 ensured the shut out was broken, but Steelers quickly snuffed out the fightback to go into the second break with a solid 4-1 advantage.
They cut that to 4-2 at 48:52 when James Isaacs nailed a player on the plexi to turn Steelers over, Sisca scarpered down the wing and his square pass was swept home by David Turon.
As the clock wound down, Fife pulled Owen twice, called a time out but. In truth, never looked like a club that would get to within one goal of Steelers.
Score: Fife Flyers 2 Sheffield Steelers 4
Period scores 0-2, 1-2, 1-0
MoMs: Thinel (Fife) Fretter (Steelers)