Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume hopes his players have learned a lesson after coming within 0.6 seconds of a pointless opening weekend.
Flyers fell to a 3-1 defeat at home to Belfast Giants on Sunday, having 24 hours earlier required a last gasp equaliser against Braehead Clan to force overtime.
Flyers went on to win Saturday’s dramatic match in a penalty shoot-out in front of 2800 fans, giving them two points from a possible four from their opening two Challenge Cup fixtures.
The team travelled to Sheffield Steelers last night (Wednesday) for the opening Elite League fixture of the campaign, claiming a point after a 4-3 overtime loss, before returning to the Challenge Cup group section for a home and away double header against Dundee Stars this weekend.
Dutiaume is hoping to see more consistent performances.
“You probably saw both sides of us at the weekend,” he said.
“Our first period on Saturday was our best of the weekend. I don’t think anyone could ask for any more.
“We were all over them and controlled the puck for the majority of the game.
“Clan had a bit of a pushback in the third but we showed great composure to come back from going behind with one minute 13 seconds left.
“That could have really destroyed us mentally but to come back in the last second and then win that hockey game is really a nod to the guys in that room.
“Maybe they were drained from it, or they thought it was going to be similar paced game, but everyone was disappointed with Sunday’s performance.
“A lot of the issues we had was down to a lack of attention to the smaller details and getting out-worked.
“When we woke up a little in the third, and started doing things that made us successful, we were more in the hockey game, but by that point the game was done and dusted.”
Dutiaume confessed that the team was out-worked against Belfast and that is not a trait he is prepared to tolerate.
“We’ve made it clear to the group that we can’t get out-worked on any night, but particularly in our building,” he said. “I think that message will sink in.
“Belfast were touted early as one of teams capable of winning this league – I can see why.
“They skated all night and came here to win.
“It was a good early wake-up call for us to know we need to be better.
“We don’t want to be looking up the table all year.
“A good start makes things a lot easier on you, and it’s something we have to sort out quickly.”
Dutiaume was full of praise for the performances of Scottish youngster Jordan Buesa, signed from Glasgow Clan in the summer, while local lad Chad Smith also skated well in both matches.
“We have a bunch of young guys who will not develop and be able to fill these roles if they don’t play minutes,” he said.
“It’s important we find a way to nurture them and find them time to develop their game.
“Jordan Buesa has been a stand-out up front so far, the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the game is something we really want to tap into.
“Tactically we can develop him further, but he certainly brings a buzz about the place and you can hear people rooting for him from the stands, which is great.
“Smithy has stepped up his game in his time with us over the last two years, which has shown him he needs to make advancements if he is going to become a regular in this line-up and in this league.
“But he’s enjoying more ice time of late then he ever did last year, taking advantage of us not being at full strength and he’s fighting for that spot.
“Although these guys are all team mates, they are all competing with each other for spots, whether it’s on the special teams or for regular shifts.”
Joe Basaraba missed the opening weekend due to injury, and the trip to Sheffield, but it is hoped that the forward will return to the line-up for the Dundee double-header.