Fife Flyers: Coach Coolen’s team meeting on road blues ahead of midweek tests

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Fife Flyers’ rocky adjustment to life on the road will be put to the test with two midweek trips across the border this week.

They take on Nottingham Panthers at the Motorpoint Arena on Wednesday and then head back down the M6 on Friday to face Manchester Storm.

Tom Coolen, head coach, will sit down with his players after training on Tuesday night to spell out the need to make the best possible starts to give them a fine chance of bringing points home in the kitbag.

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Flyers were blown out 5-0 at Sheffield on Sunday, just 24 hours after shutting out Guildford Flames on home ice - and they have fallen behind early in games at Belfast, Glasgow and Coventry.

Kyle Osterberg tops the scoring charts for Flyers in league games so far (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)Kyle Osterberg tops the scoring charts for Flyers in league games so far (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Kyle Osterberg tops the scoring charts for Flyers in league games so far (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Making a stronger start was the top item on his agenda at this week’s meeting.

“We are not going to pace ourselves and think about the next team,” said Coolen. “We go into every game and give everything we have to the game we are in and what stands in front of us. We did that on Saturday against Guildford who are a very good team - their record does not reflect their talent - but then came up against very good Sheffield where we made early mistakes they capitalised on.

“So, we will sit down as a team and look at the keys to a good start, to maintaining it and staying in the game.

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We need to be competitive, and we have to reduce the mistakes we make because they are turning into goals early on just as we are off the bus. We need that healthy start so we are going head to head with them. Be first to the puck, match them for intensity, win our battles and play defensive first. We have to be smart as well as emptying the tanks. We have to find our legs and find our heads and get them on the same spot.”

Flyers go into the busy schedule sitting in sixth spot, with games in hand over the teams immediately above them, Manchester and Cardiff Devils, and the coach is confident his roster - most of it new to UK hockey’s back to back games with long road trips in between and little recovery time - will adapt.

“Our powerplay is running at 25%, our penalty kill is the best in the league, so there are a lot of positives. We have two wins, and one overtime loss - I think we are off to a really good start.”

Flyers head south hoping that forward Teemu Pulkkinen returns to the ice after he hobbled out of Saturday’s game at the end of the second period.