FIFE Flyers netminder Bryan Pitton was delighted to mark his first official match in the UK with a shut-out on Saturday.
The Kirkcaldy team played 60 games last season without a single clean sheet, but Pitton managed it at the first attempt as Flyers got the new season underway with a 2-0 Challenge Cup win over Edinburgh Capitals.
The Brampton goalie had little to do for the opening two periods as Flyers dominated, but he earned his man of the match award with a string of top saves in the third as Caps threatened a comeback.
“A shut-out is your goal for every game but you don’t really think about it,” Pitton told the Press.
“When I looked up at the clock and saw there was a minute left I thought that it could have been a possibility, so I just bared down and the guys in front of me did a really good job.
“They had a couple of shots in the last few seconds which the guys blocked so nothing really got through.
“To be honest, my job was pretty easy for the first two periods.
“If we can do that all year it would be perfect for me.
“In the third period we made some mental mistakes but it’s my job to bail them out when they need me.
“They helped me out the entire game, so the least I could do was help them out for the last 20 minutes.”
The goalie’s performance saw Fife fans chant his name at full-time, something which his team-mate, and older brother, Jason, experienced the previous week in the Autumn Cup.
“My brother was razzing me that he was getting it last week, so it was neat to hear the fans calling my name out this time,” Pitton said.
“As a team, I though we played a really good game. We had a strong first period, and although there were a lot of special teams out in the second period, we were down in their end for most of the time.
“In the third it seemed like we got a little tired and they had a couple of chances, but overall I think we had a good game.
“Hopefully we can build on it and play the same way, if not better, going forward.”
Fife are hoping for a better year after finishing last season bottom of the Elite League.
It’s a situation Pitton can relate to after spending last season with Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL.
“Last year I didn’t have a good season,” he said. “I was on a last placed team so that was pretty tough, so my goal for this season is just to win.
“I’ll be going into each game not caring who we’re playing against or who their top guys are, I’m just approaching every game that I want to win.
“If I can do that, and the team can do that, I think the Fife fans will be pretty pleased by the end of the season.”
Pitton also revealed that his predecessor in Fife, Garrett Zemlak, helped seal his move to Kirkcaldy.
He added: “I played with Garrett in Stockton a couple of years ago.
“He was there for about a month until one of our goalies came back from injury.
“We got along pretty well, and I talked to him prior to coming here, and asked him how it was.
“He had nothing but good things to say.
“He’s a great guy and I trust what he says.
“I’m glad I came here and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
>> Applause as the quiet man exits the stage ... read the FFP’s latest online ice hockey blog exclusively at http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/sport/ice-hockey/ice-hockey-blog-applause-as-the-quiet-man-exits-the-stage-1-2519116