Heelis insists Flyers can cope with tough schedule

Liam Heelis is Fife Flyers' top points scorer. Pic: Steve Gunn
Liam Heelis is Fife Flyers' top points scorer. Pic: Steve Gunn

Liam Heelis says there will be no excuses over tiredness after insisting that Fife Flyers can handle the rigours of a demanding fixture schedule.

Flyers are in the midst of their second consecutive three-game weekend after claiming just two points from a possible six in last weekend’s three-in-three.

In total, Flyers will cram 22 fixtures into the final two months of the season, more than any other side, after enjoying a lighter schedule in the early weeks of the campaign.

Heelis, however, believes the team can cope.

“I hadn’t played three games in three days in probably six years or so,” he said.

“It was a good challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it again this weekend.

“It certainly takes a lot out of you but you to have to realise that every team goes through these things. It’s nothing unique to us and it’s something we have to be prepared for.

“I think our coaches and staff have prepared us well throughout the season for these long weekends and this number of games coming up.

“We’re well conditioned and we’re in good shape, so we’re ready for it and looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Heelis is the current top point scorer at the club with 15 goals and 33 assists totalling 48 points from 38 appearances.

However, his strike against Edinburgh last Saturday ended a run of seven games without scoring, his longest barren run of the season.

“It’s always nice to put the puck in the net and finish off an opportunity,” he said.

“But at the end of the day my goal is always to contribute to the team outcome of a win.

“I’m happy if you want to call it getting a monkey off my back, but I don’t personally feel that way.

“I’m not really aware of these things and it’s something I don’t have to be aware of.

“I’m just focusing on playing my best game every night and contributing to the team at both ends of the ice.”

Heelis is in his first year as a senior professional and he admits he did not expect to be the team’s leading points scorer at this stage of the campaign.

“There was certainly no expectation there!” he said. “I was brought here to be part of a dressing room and something special, and to help contribute at both ends of the ice, and be a solid all-round player.

“If I keep that in perspective, as I have throughout the season, things will keep working out.”

Heelis puts much of his individual success down to his team mates, particularly those who have been around the block.

“I think that has a lot to do with the leadership we have in this dressing room,” he said.

“Being able to learn from and work with players like Jim Jorgensen, Russ Moyer, Peter LeBlanc and Evan Bloodoff - I’m just so grateful to have these guys surrounding me.

“They are seasoned veterans who have played pro hockey all over the place, and I’m just trying to learn what they do best, take that from them, and carry it into my game as well.”

Flyers can win the Gardiner Conference title this weekend with a clean sweep of six points, and they made a promising start last night with a 6-3 win over Braehead Clan, but Heelis insists they will take it one step at a time.

He said: “Outcomes are great, and achieving those things are all awesome as that’s the goal from the start of season.

“But I don’t think much has to change in terms of us remaining focused on the present and on the process, which starts with practice this week.

“If we continue to take shifts one a time, and each one of us is striving to be the hardest working player and outworking our opponents every shift, those outcomes will take care of themselves.”