Flyers coach hopes Belfast defeat is a wake-up call

A goalmouth scramble at Fife Ice Arena last night. Flyers v Belfast. Pic: Jillian McFarlane
A goalmouth scramble at Fife Ice Arena last night. Flyers v Belfast. Pic: Jillian McFarlane

Fife Flyers completed a mixed start to the new ice hockey season with a disappointing defeat to Belfast Giants last night.

While the scoreline was close, the Kirkcaldy side were soundly beaten in last night’s Challenge Cup fixture at Fife Ice Arena.

Giants were dominant for the majority of the match, outshooting the hosts 26-39, leaving Fife head coach Todd Dutiaume less than happy with his team’s performance.

“That’s not going to be acceptable in anybody’s book,” he told Flyers TV.

“That’s not who we are or the team we built. This league is far too good for performances like that.

“I have to give Belfast credit, that’s the best side we’ve seen this season and they worked incredibly hard.

“The important thing is we focus on us, and you could tell before the first puck dropped that we just didn’t have that spark tonight.
“Once you start off flat against a team like Belfast, it’s hard to turn back on.”

The match followed a much better effort the previous night as Flyers secured a dramatic penalty shots victory over Glasgow Clan in the season opener.

“The contrast between last night and tonight - it looked like two different hockey clubs,” Dutiaume added.

“We have a lot of things to work on as a group, and conditioning is one issue.

“That was apparent tonight, and it’s something we’re going to have to work really hard on.

“Something I really sold is that we won’t be out-worked, but it’s only the second game of the season and we were out-worked by a country mile.

“That’s something that we addressed tonight and will demand out of them. Hopefully it’s a wake-up call.”

Giants arrived in Kirkcaldy on the back of a 4-2 win over Dundee Stars on Saturday, and Darcy Murphy hit top form as his hat-trick secured a second successive road win.

It was the perfect start to the new season for Adam Keefe and his team, who had to contend with some early Fife pressure before finding their rhythm.

It was the visitors who made the breakthrough as Murphy finished off a move that saw Belfast burst forward quickly, with Fife unable to contain them, as he notched his first of the night on 11.49.

Then he added number two in the middle period when a scramble broke out in front of Shane Owen’s crease and Murphy was on hand to finish.

The away side were taking the game by the scruff of the neck as Fife toiled to recreate the fight they showed in Saturday’s penalty shots win over Clan.

Fife were responsible for their downfall four minutes into the third period when a giveaway allowed Belfast to break out shorthanded, as Murphy completed his hat-trick to open up a three-goal lead.

Scott Aarssen hit back with a shot from the blue line that flew into the net to reduce the gap, but it was a mere consolation as Giants left Scotland with an 100 per cent record so far.