Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has saluted his team after they captured the Gardiner Conference title on Sunday.
A thrilling 7-6 overtime win against Dundee Stars, in front of a massive travelling support, clinched the club’s first EIHL-era silverware after seven years back in top flight ice hockey.
It also completed a sweep of all six points in a punishing three-game weekend – and set the club up for a real chance of finishing runners up to champions elect, Cardiff Devils, in the league, and hitting the play-offs brimming with confidence.
Flyers only needed one point from the game in Dundee to take the Scottish regional title, and they did it in the most dramatic way.
They were one goal down with 46 seconds to play, but Charlie Mosey still found time to tie the game and take it into overtime where new signing Dan Correale grabbed the golden goal for a 7-6 victory.
Dutiaume paid tribute to his side which iced at the weekend without key forward Evan Bloodoff, and experienced defenceman Russ Moyer.
He said: “This team has a history of winning and you only need to see the roof at the rink to see this with the banners.
“There’s been a seven-year gap since we came into the Elite League and now we can start to fill it.”
Flyers set the pace for most of the conference race, but still had to cross the line with a punishing three-game schedule
Added Dutiaume: ‘‘We’ve fought hard in this Conference this year and I have to commend the owners of the club who let a rookie coach at this level learn on the job.
“We’ve been through a lot of tough times, but they believed in the process that we’ve tried to do over the years.
“Trophy aside for one second, this team have made steps and improved every year. It was something we worked towards and I’m happy we’ve managed to keep that going.
Dutiaume also paid tribute to assistant coach Jeff Hutchins – who guided Dundee to the conference in 2014 – who came on boards in 2016.
“Jeff has been an enormous help to me and we’ve got a fantastic working relationship,’’ he said. ‘‘We get along really well away from the rink too.
“His experience and knowledge of the game has helped me incredibly since he came here and our styles complement each other really well.
“We’re two different people and two different coaches, but we make a hybrid of it that really works for us.
“With him having won the Conference before and things getting tight in the end, he’s a calming influence and we remained level-headed as the team got over the finish line.”