Isaacs relishing dual role at Fife Flyers

James Isaacs. Pic: Fife Flyers
James Isaacs. Pic: Fife Flyers

James Isaacs has played in the Elite League for a number of years, but he has never experienced a game quite like Saturday’s comeback in Cardiff.

Fife Flyers’ recovery from 5-1 down, to claim an 8-6 victory at the home of the defending EIHL champions, will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in the club’s history.

Isaacs, currently alternating between defence and forward, explained that it was one of the most memorable matches of his career to date.

“It’s always special to take two points in Cardiff, but to do it in the way we did was even better,” he said.

“The start we had, with all the penalties, it never felt like they were beating us, but that we were beating ourselves.

“When we got one back on the powerplay, there was just this feeling on the team that we were going to pull it off somehow.

“Our PP has definitely been clicking the last few games and it was something special to watch. To go out there after we scored and try to shut them down was a good feeling.”

Isaacs believes that the performance in Cardiff shows the capabilities of the Flyers team this season.

“We’re definitely a team to be reckoned with,” he said.

“I think we’ve shown that in the league so far, but that being said, we need to show some consistency.

“It was a similar game in Guildford on Sunday except this time we didn’t come back.

“You always want to follow up a win with another win on a weekend otherwise you’re in the same spot.

“But Cardiff are defending champions for a reason and I’m sure the league took notice of that.

“If we can find that on a consistent basis we’ll do pretty well.”

Isaacs natural position is defence but throughout his time in Fife he has been used more as a forward, either to cover injuries, or just to bolster the attack.

He often finds himself switching between positions depending on the flow of the game, and this versatility is why the coaching staff often refer to the 28-year-old one of the most important members of the roster.

“I feel much more comfortable on forward this year,” Isaacs said.

“I think I’ve already passed my points from last year too, on a personal note.

“I’m feeling much more confident, and I’ve been playing on various lines due to injuries.

“It’s been a lot of fun and I can’t complain.

“Most games I do end up playing D for a few shifts at some point.

“I’m a defensive-minded player and while a lot of guys on our team are such great skaters and have a lot of skill, I just try to play a simple, safe defensive role, and sometimes it’s needed, especially if we’re trying to save a goal.

“It’s a role I enjoy because it gives me a purpose on the team.”

Isaacs explained that the decision to use him up front stretches back to his time at Dundee Stars when current Fife assistant coach, Jeff Hutchins, was in charge.

“It probably goes back to when I played for Jeff in Dundee,” he said.

“We got completely decimated by injuries and were down to 12 guys at one point.

“He wanted someone to stop the bleeding a bit upfront, so he put me at centre, and I had a couple of solid games, where I wasn’t scored on.

“Maybe that was in the back of his mind and that’s how I got it here.”