Patrick Cullen wants to repay the faith shown in him by helping Fife Flyers win silverware.
Inconsistent results, and a lack of offensive production throughout the first half of the season, put pressure on head coach Todd Dutiaume to make changes to the roster.
Dutiaume resisted, instead convincing directors to allow him to bring in Nico Sacchetti as an extra import while keeping faith with the players already at his disposal, and results since have improved considerably.
Cullen has certainly benefited, emerging from a dry spell to score four goals and three assists in his last four games, including the recent winner in Braehead Arena that has kept Flyers on course for the Gardiner Conference title.
The 27-year-old Irish American is keen to vindicate the club’s loyalty.
“There was definitely some tough adversity at first, but Dutes keeping us all together really helped and sent a message that it was up to us,” he said.
“I was traded last year and it’s never a good feeling. Unfortunately, it’s part of the business.
“But the loyalty the club has shown to every one of us has been outstanding.
“You look around the league and you see other teams changing players constantly.
“It’s something that we really appreciate, and we want to repay the club.
“Within this dressing room everyone gets along, it’s a good group, and that shows on the ice when guys are sacrificing.
“Bringing Nico in was a big addition but keeping the core of this team together has been huge.
“That adversity early on has helped us get to where we are now – and we’re still learning.”
Its says everything about Cullen’s currently mentality that he was unaware his recent points streak followed a lean stretch of just one goal in 19 games.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know it was that long,” he said.
“That’s something I might have looked at early on in my career but, if we’re winning, and the team is making progress each night, that’s the big picture here.
“Individual stats don’t really come up and that’s starting to show more on the ice.
“It’s infectious and it spreads through the team when you see a guy block a shot, or have a back check.
“It keeps everyone up and gets everyone going.
“I’ve just been fortunate with the bounces recently. As long as we keep winning, who cares who gets the points?”
With eight wins in their last 10 games, Flyers are playing with confidence and Cullen has set his sights on finishing as high as possible in the EIHL – as well as winning the conference.
“The confidence is definitely starting to show,” he said. “A lot more plays are being made and it goes from the goalie right out through the back end – everyone’s feeling good.
“It’s important to have good weeks of practice, which have been helping lead to the results. We’ve just got to keep grinding here and keep pushing.
“If we can get the conference title, it would be awesome – and if we can climb as high as we can in the standings, it would be awesome too.
“The only way we’re going to get there is by breaking it down, not looking at the big picture, and just going period by period.
“Guys are aware of the standings but it’s not something we’re are sitting down and worrying about.
“You could run 1000 different scenarios but, ultimately, when a game comes, it’s up to the guys in the dressing room to go on the ice and perform – that’s all we worry about.
“It’s a good feeling to know we’re in with a chance but there’s a lot more work to do here.
“We’ll take things day by day in practice and, when weekends come, we’ve just got to be as ready as can be.”