Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has backed new signing Marcus Basara to fill the void left by Chase Schaber’s injury.
Dutiaume admits that the Flyers felt the effect of losing Schaber, who has been ruled out for a significant spell, at the weekend but says he is confident that Basara, who scored against MK Lightning, can make an impact.
“We haven’t discussed it too much but I think the loss of Chase Schaber really affected us,” he said.
“The amount of ice that he logs for us and the engine that he provides is a big part of this club.
“But the guys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and ultimately did enough to get three points out of the weekend.”
Basara was picked up after being freed by Manchester Storm, which Dutiaume says was fortuitous timing.
“We were obviously looking for a guy after Chase’s injury and Marcus became available at that time.
“We moved quickly and brought him in on a trial period and we’re going to give the kid every opportunity to make it here and fit in for the rest of the season.
“He scored against MK so it was good for him to get that monkey off his back and ultimately he brings us up to our full quota and I’m not having to overuse guys.”
Basara and his team mates will now prepare for tonight’s top-of-the-table clash at the Fife Ice Arena on Friday before travelling south to face Manchester Storm on Saturday.
“It’s exciting for everybody involved and that’s what you want,” Dutiaume said.
“Our focus will be on Belfast first. They are a side who are probably a bit more confident than they were at the start of the season.
“They’re playing a lot of good hockey and are on a great run themselves so they will be formidable opponents.
“We’re going to have to put in a very strong performance to compete.
“Going to Manchester we’re going to have to adjust to the smallest ice surface in the league.
“The game is just played different. It’s a big adjustment but one that everyone has to make and we’ll have to get ready for it.”
Flyers head into the weekend sitting at the top of the EIHL table, but Dutiaume says no-one is getting too carried away.
“I think our guys are level-headed and aren’t going to get ahead of themselves. They recognise how early it is.
“I would say the one good factor out of it is to see yourself competing around the top of the league at that point structure, rather than sitting mid-table or near the bottom when you’re looking up.
“They’ve certainly put themselves in a good position but I’ve been quite vocal that I haven’t been happy with all of our performances.
“But they are a good ice hockey club and they believe in themselves and just need to bring that effort level that they are capable of all of the time.
“If they do that,good things will happen for this club.”