Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume praised his team’s ‘fight and resilience’ following Saturday’s remarkable comeback in Cardiff.
Flyers claimed one of the results of the EIHL season so far by recovering from 5-1 down to claim victory over the defending champions 8-6 on their own ice pad on Saturday.
However, just 24 hours later the Kirkcaldy team were brought back to earth in a 6-1 loss in Guildford and Dutiaume said his players must also learn from their mistakes.
“We’ve seen a lot of fight and resilience out of this club, and it’s something we’ve come to expect as a coaching staff after three short months together,” he said.
“So when you have a night like Sunday, when things aren’t going your way, you’re not pleased about it because you know that’s not your team, and not a regular performance.
“If that was a regular performance from us, you’d be really worried.
“We’ve set the bar high for these guys this year, and for the most part they’ve accepted that challenge and risen to it.
“You have a night off like Sunday and it deflates you a bit, but the beauty of this game is it’s back to work this week and two more games this weekend.”
The real positive from the weekend was the team’s performance in the second half of the Cardiff game where six powerplay goals, a short-handed goal, and an empty-netter sealed a memorable win.
“It was a game of two sides,” Dutiaume said. “It has to be noted that we ultimately found ourselves down by 5-1, and put ourselves in a difficult position.
“We discussed it as a group, said forget the score, just take it a goal at at time, and, for whatever reason we kept our feet moving, drew penalties, and managed to capitalise on those instances.
“I don’t know how often that happens but it was certainly a good feeling for club to regroup and win the hockey game, especially against a team of that calibre.”
Cardiff will have the chance to exact immediate revenge when they travel to Fife Ice Arena this Saturday and Dutiaume has warned his players to be ready for a reaction.
“Cardiff have lost three on the bounce and they are going to demand answers out of themselves so I will expect a team coming up here early and being very well prepared to come into this rink,” he said.
“It’s another night where we’ll need to be at our absolute best, and then again on Sunday when we take the trip down to Nottingham.”
While sixth in the EIHL standings, which are lop-sided due to the differing game totals played by teams so far, Flyers are currently ranked third in the EIHL for win percentage. It’s a position Dutiaume is satisfied with.
“There’s probably only two league games where we’ve been disappointed in our performance,” he said.
“We’re pretty happy with this group, although it’s only the end of November. There’s still four months left in the season and there’s a lot of good teams in this league.
“We’re just going to have to keep imposing upon them the importance of consistent play in this league which we’ve displayed pretty well so far.”
Charlie Mosey’s comeback from injury remains day-to-day.
This Saturday Flyers will be raising money for their charity partners, Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), by holding bucket collections at the match against Cardiff.
The players will be wearing specially-made one off CHAS jerseys, which fans will be able to bid for through an online auction. Visit www.fifeflyers.co.uk for more information.