Team display was key to first win says Fife Flyers' Isaacs

Fife Flyers star James Isaacs says Sunday’s sensational win over Manchester Storm came as a huge relief.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 9:00 am
Jason Isaacs has played over 250 games for Fife Flyers (Pic: EIHL)

The Canadian D-man played his part in the incredible 8-0 win as the backline secured a shutout, and having gone down 5-0 to the same opponents just 24 hours earlier, he said he was delighted to finally secure the first win of the season.

“I don't even know if I'm happy - I think it's more of a relief than anything,” he said.

“It was a really good win and it was nice to see the rink come alive with some great chants.

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“I don't know if we've ever scored eight goals since I've been here, but if we have we certainly didn't win 8-0.

“It was a really good game and a lot of fun to play in.”

Isaacs says the win came as for the first time in this campaign Flyers put on “a great team performance".

“First of all everyone came to play,” he says, “all three lines were going.

“I thought some of the Brits really stepped up. I thought Scotty Jamieson had an amazing game.

“He was skating with confidence with the puck.

"He was taking that extra second to make the proper play instead of just throwing it away which is hard for a young guy making this jump.

“I also think that was Bari McKenzie's finest game in the Fife uniform.

“The lines were just buzzing and they were hard on the forecheck.

I think what was most effective was they were supporting each other, so if one guy was gaining on the forecheck, the next guy was close by to take the puck away.

“And they were moving, they kept their feet moving all night so I think a lot of credit goes to the forwards.

“At the back end we tried to simplify it a bit more and move the puck up quicker but because the forwards were doing such a good job it was easier for us to pinch up and keep the puck in and try and make a few more plays.”

The 32-year-old says that making sure that Storm didn’t score was particularly pleasing as Flyers have taken a few heavy defeats this season.

“Goalies and defence always kind of get the blame!” he said.

“It's never fun to give up five or six goals so I'm glad we got a shutout.

“Before that it seemed like we were going through a spell where there were consistent three on twos and good teams are going to score those.

“It's not that the D aren't there, it's just that it's an odd man rush.

“I do think the defence gets the lion's share of the criticism, sometimes unfairly, but I think the point to take is that you play team defence and you play team offence.

“You get the puck out of your zone and the more energy you have the quicker you can transition to the play up front.

“In that last game we had a commitment to team defence and that translated to having more energy on the forecheck and to pursue pucks and support each other up front.

“Hopefully we can now build on that.”

Isaacs is now firmly in with the bricks at the Fife Ice Arena in his fifth season in Kirkcaldy and made his 250th appearance for the team against Dundee Stars on October 9.

He said it’s an “honour” to have reached that milestone.

“Somebody mentioned it so I was only really aware of it a few days ago.

“It's such a historic organisation and there are guys who have played here many more times than that, but it's kind of cool to have your name up there with some of the other imports.

“The time has flown by. I've enjoyed my time here. The club has been really supportive of me and my extra curricular activities.

“I really appreciate that and it's really special to be able to play pro hockey for as long as I have and it's even more special to be able to play for five years for such a historic club and I'm very thankful to be able to do that.”

His activities off the ice saw him graduate from Abertay University with a degree in graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and has now moved on to Edinburgh University where he recently started studying International Banking Law and Finance LLM.

"So far, so good!” he says, “it’s been a bit of a learning curve.

"The first few weeks have been pretty heavy on the finance which is not necessarily my forte, but it’s been really interesting.

"I have a general understanding of it because my background was primarily based in law, but now we’re starting to connect the dots between the two.”

Back on the ice, Isaacs will add to his impressive appearance record this weekend with an away double header against Dundee Stars and Sheffield Steelers.

He said: “Dundee are a huge rival for us, especially until Glasgow gets going.

“They seem to have had our number so far this year but I think we were just lacking a little bit of confidence.

“I don't think we were outmatched in any way whatsoever so I think going into this weekend we will definitely have some confidence and I think it's going to be a whole new Fife Flyers that will be playing them.

“I just hope we remember that feeling that we had on Sunday. I fancy our chances going into this one for sure.

“Then going to Sheffield - that's a tough building.

“It's one of those games that can get away from you if you don't come out strong.

“Sheffield like to score in bunches and it's a tough place to play when things aren't going your way.

"Hopefully we have a good game against Dundee and bring that into Sheffield because you're either grinding out a game there 2-1 or you're losing 7-0.

“We need to make a good start in both games.”