Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has called on his players to show more consistency ahead of this week’s home double header.
The Flyers welcome Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers to the Fife Ice Arena on EIHL business after a disappointing 48 hours in the Challenge Cup where they lost to both Glasgow Clan and Dundee Stars.
Those results took qualification out of their hands – they can only make the last eight if Glasgow Clan beat Belfast Giants in regulation time on Saturday night.
“Regardless of how I felt we played, we lost both games and in two different fashions,” he said, “The first game we lost in the final minutes, and the second game we lost in the first 10 minutes.
“We are playing good hockey, it’s just not a consistent 60 minutes, and that’s very frustrating, not only for the guys and the coaching staff, but for the fans as well.
“We need to be prepared to be consistent for 60 minutes if we want to have success in this league.
“I think everyone in this situation has to take responsibility for it. The coaching staff has to make sure that these guys are prepared to go and maintain that focus for the whole game.
“Coinciding with that, it’s important that the players stay engaged and do not shut off because there’s too many good players in this league - and we have may of them - who can change the course of a game with just a little bit of open ice.
“There’s not much time and space out there and mentally that’s a big challenge so we all have to stay focused and make sure we see these games out.”
Despite the cup disappointment, Dutiaume is encouraged by the start to the Flyers’ league campaign and says there will be plenty of points up for grabs as the season unfolds.
“I think the biggest thing we’re seeing in the league is unrivalled results that we haven’t seen in the past.
“Results that we have taken for granted maybe have really been upended.
“There are going to be a lot of ups and downs over the course of the season, not only for us but for all teams. You can see that from the top of the league right to the bottom.
“I feel that we have a fantastic group here, it’s just about fine tweaking these things, keeping everybody engaged and making sure that when we do come to the rink we’re all about the business.”
The head coach is now focused for this weekend’s visit from two of the league’s biggest sides.
“We’ve seen Belfast, Nottingham, Guildford and Coventry. Dundee are going to be in the mix and Glasgow haven’t stopped winning for the last couple of weeks.
“So regardless of who we’re playing, it’s important that we focus on playing an good solid 60 minutes and give ourselves a chance on both games this weekend.”