Ice Hockey: Flyers’ perfect road weekend

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Fife Flyers logo large hi-res
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Dawn will be breaking before the team bus finally pulls into the car park at Fife Ice Arena in the early hours of Monday morning, but the players will still hop off with a spring in their step. Four-point double header weekends tend to do that to you.

And for a team that simply couldn’t win south of the border last season - Flyers even managed to conjure up new ways of losing from a winning position - this was a spectacular 48 hours in England and Wales.

And I wonder if, when the time comes to review this 75th anniversary season, we pinpoint the weekend of October 26-27 as a key turning point. The moment Flyers gelled and played the outstanding road hockey that has been the cornerstone of so much of their success over the years.

To win 3-2 in Sheffield and then 4-3 in Cardiff is a huge achievement - maximum points from two very closely contested games can only be gained if the game plan is followed, everyone shows up and the team plays with focus and discipline.

Hot goaltending, solid defence, clinical in front of goal, and a mental toughness to stand firm as the clock counts down and the home team comes charging at you are just some of the qualities you need to return home with maximum points.

And every season has landmark weekends - games and results which give you an insight into the character of the side and the direction it is headed.

Flyers went south with some legitimate question marks over their forwards’ output, but also a determination to make it right.

The hard work in training - away from the scrutiny of the fans and keyboard coaches - is where the real work is done, and it clearly paid off in Sheffield and Cardiff, two places Fife have had very, very limited success across the years.

This being hockey, and hockey being a hard-nosed business, the time to savour the wins will be strictly limited by the coaching staff. Come Tuesday’s training sessions the focus will be solely on preparing for Sheffield’s visit to Kirkcaldy this coming weekend, and a Sunday trip to Nottingham.

They will prepare in good spirits - there is absolutely nothing better for a dressing room than a big road win - and go again against Steelers, this time on home ice.

It will be just as close and just as competitive, but this time with a sense of anticipation about the outcome.

Flyers know that the momentum of a season will ebb and flow, but right now they are riding the momentum and have a great opportunity to build on it.

And now they’ve won twice south of the border, the fans will be expecting more notches in the ‘W’ column this winter ...

>> Follow me on Twitter @fifefreepressed

>> Tweet your weekend match views to @mattelder_ffp for inclusion in our ‘Twitter Talk’ column in Thursday’s paper.