Fife Flyers forward Carlo Finucci has admitted that Christmas has come at a good time for Fife Flyers.
After a gruelling run of games playing short-benched, Flyers over-worked players are looking forward to a short break before resuming the campaign at Dundee Ice Arena on Boxing Day, with Dundee Stars heading to Kirkcaldy for the return match on Saturday.
“We’ve got a few days off now and we’ll skate Boxing Day morning before the game to shake off the turkey and get ready for the game,” said Finucci, who is spending the festive period in Pitlochry with some of his team mates.
“I don’t think we’ve had more than two days off in a row all season long and guys have been playing a lot of minutes so it will be nice for the legs and to mentally regroup.
“Both ourselves and Dundee will be coming off a few days break, so it’s just about who’s going to be sharper.
“Hopefully we’ll get a body back but, even if we’re short, we’ve just got to be clinical.”
Finucci admits that playing short-handed may have been a factor in the team losing four of their last five games.
“You hate to use that as an excuse but this league isn’t what it was a few years ago when you could maybe get away with that,” he said.
“Teams third lines, fourth lines and fifth and sixth defencemen are so much better than when I entered the league.
“It’s tough to beat teams that are going to run four lines at you.
“You might get away with it here and there, but over the course of a weekend, to be able to pick up four points, you really need to be clinical and play with leads.
“Trying to chase with short bodies is so tough.
“We’re digging ourselves holes, but on the other hand we’ve dropped points in games where we were in leads going into the third period, and that’s inexcusable.
“You can’t blame that on the short bodies, but it would be nice to hopefully get at least one back after the holidays and start building in the second half of season.”
Finucci was the hero on Saturday with an overtime winner in Manchester – a throwback to his previous OT winner in the Storm Shelter in the play-off quarter-final second leg of 2018.
This time his goal claimed an important two points for Flyers which kept them ahead of ninth-placed Storm in the Elite League standings.
“It wasn’t as special as the one a couple of years ago, but the way we got shafted at the end going down six-on-three, and letting them tie the game, it was nice to get the extra point after all that,” he said.
“It’s tough going into overtime when they’ve got all the momentum, and they still had a minute and half left on the four-on-three so the guys did great job on the kill.
“I was then lucky enough to squeeze one through the five-hole, which was great, and got us a couple of points against the team right behind us in the standings. It was a crucial game for us.”
Flyers were unable to follow up their victory on Sunday as they went down to a 3-1 defeat on home ice to Belfast Giants.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t take our chances earlier on and give ourselves a lead,” Finucci said. “It’s always easier playing with a lead when your short on bodies, but we had to start chasing the game.
“But we can’t fault anyone in there – everyone worked their butts off all weekend and it will be good to get a little rest for a few days and recharge for the games coming up.”