Fife Flyers go with two import netminders as Tom Coolen explains changes

Fife Flyers look set to complete the season with two import netminders after Dominic Salama’s impressive home debut at the weekend.
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The Finnish netminder became the 24th import to ice this season when he was drafted at short notice to cover for Shane Owen who was unavailable - just after the club had released previous emergency cover, Kevin Lindskoug who went on to sign for Glasgow Clan.

The changes continued with the departure this week of defenceman Stephen Desrocher just as he was expected to return to the ice after six weeks out with a broken finger. The Memorial Cup winning blueliner departed at the weekend, and that might draw a line under a season which has seen head coach Tom Coolen juggle a number of changes to his roster.

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And while the turnover has been high compared to previous Flyers’ seasons, the coach said it was all part of the game - and he is more than happy with how the squad has developed.

High fives for new netminder Dominic Salama after Sunday's win (Pic: Derek Young)High fives for new netminder Dominic Salama after Sunday's win (Pic: Derek Young)
High fives for new netminder Dominic Salama after Sunday's win (Pic: Derek Young)

“Look at teams like Belfast, Sheffield, Glasgow and Dundee - they have all made a similar number so of changes. It is very, very common for guys to move. You don’t sign a team and that’s it done. I strongly believe that every change we have made has been an upgrade for the team - that’s why we did it. No-one moves a player on for the sake of it.

“I wanted to improve our powerplay’s defence and Kevin Wehrs did that. He reads the ice and moves the puck well. His presence has settled the unit. I brought in Salama to re-inforce our netminding, and when I wanted a bit of sandpaper and grit, I brought in Drake Pilon. Vitalijs Pavlovs came in to give us size and give us a good face off guy - turns out he can also play defence, giving us another option.”

A three-point weekend from their double header with Manchester Storm kept Flyers firmly in the play-off race, and now they are setting their sights on Nottingham Panthers at Fife Ice Arena on Saturday - the only team they have yet to beat in league or cup competition this season.

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The English side, who have had to deal with the trauma of the death of defenceman Adam Johnson, scored a fine 6-2 win at Coventry to snap a nine-game losing streak. Their last win was a 4-3 success in Kirkcaldy - a result Coolen admits he’d like back.

The weekend also takes Flyers south to third top Guildford Flames on Sunday, and Coolen goes into the games with a full roster at his disposal, knowing that points are key to keeping the pressure on a faltering Glasgow Clan - the team directly above them in the standings.

“The big picture was one point from Saturday and two from Sunday. We had our eyes on the prize. We scored where we had to, controlled the puck when we had to and a very poised performance. Since December, we have got points each weekend - we're over the Christmas insanity of all these games. We are on the right road.”

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