Fife Flyers might as well get this one out of their system early on.
A 3-1 loss to Dundee Stars was the end result of a night when not much went right.
Every team has them – when players tune out, pucks go too long, fall short, and no-one quite gets a grip on proceedings.
The better team won, and nothing should be taken away from Stars’ victory. I’ve never seen them skate to such a comfortable result in Kirkcaldy and, the gap could have been more significant.
It was, said Todd Dutiaume, “sub to average hockey” – far below the standard expected.
It was also the flip side to a gutsy performance which delivered a point on the road to Sheffield in midweek.
It took a 53rd minute strike from Chase Schaber to avoid a shut out on home ice – but this was an evening to forget.
It started with the PA system all but packing in, resulting in the DJ having to bellow the team lines across the rink.
If the sound system was muffled, so was Flyers’ performance, particularly in the opening period when Stars skated to a 2-0 lead which they never looked like relinquishing.
Francois Buchard was left completely unmarked for the opening goal at 1:58, a third minute powerplay was passed up, and the tone was set for the evening.
It was 2-0 after 12 minutes as Stars again exploited the time they were given on the puck, with Drydn Dow shooting home after a good move down the left.
Flyers needed a response at the start of the second, and while they did carve out some chances, they couldn’t get the goal they needed to spark their team into action.
By the halfway stage they were 3-0 down and the rink was becoming restless. Stars won a face off to the left of the goal, the puck was fired across the crease, and Brian Hart had all the time he wanted to shoot past Owen.
Flyers’ opening goal came too late to have any significant impact, although it did mean they avoided a shut out on home ice. A “minor victory on the night” said Dutiaume, although he was to see the puck go in.
“We showed what we were capable of in Sheffield,’’ he said, pointing to the standard expected every hockey night.
He will be looking for a similar response when Flyers travel to Dundee for Sunday’s return game.
And while he and Jeff Hutchins fixing the glitches in the team, the rink and club need to sort out the PA system.
The fans will be expecting to see improvements on both fronts next weekend.