Fife Flyers aim to build on winning start

Fife Flyers v Nottingham Panthers. Pic: Steve Gunn
Fife Flyers v Nottingham Panthers. Pic: Steve Gunn

Top of the table, and looking good!

Fife Flyers enjoyed an excellent start to the 2019-20 EIHL campaign with back to back wins over Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers.

And Todd Dutiaume, head coach, wants that momentum to continue as the team faces two more tough tests this weekend.

They are at home to Blaze on Saturday, before making the long journey to Surrey to face a Guildford Flames outfit looking for its first win of the fledgling campaign.

Flyers have good track records against their opponents, and Dutiaume believes his new-look side could be tough to play against this season.

The early signs of the team gelling have impressed him.

“We have a group that’s got tight over this first month together and I only see that strengthening,” he said.

“So we’ll look to do a number of things on and off the ice to help cement those bonds, but we’re pleased with the team cohesion.”

His skaters have already caught the eye of fans.

Danick Gauthier topped a weekly players’ online poll, while new netminder, Adam Morrison, was the league’s choice as its star man.

Dutiaume reckons he has got what it takes to take over from Shane Owen, a summer signing for Belfast Giants.

Although loathe to pick out individuals – “I could run through the entire list” – he is more than happy with the new man between the pipes.

“He’s certainly caught the attention of a number of people around the league and our fan base,” he said.

Dutiaume has also been pleased with how quickly new defenceman Sam Jones has settled in after stepping up from the lower leagues – “for a young guy, he looks level headed and composed out there.”

And he summed up James Livingston, a summer signing from Cardiff Devils as “a piece of the puzzle that I felt we’d possible been missing over the years.”

But the coach added: ”We we are pleased with all of them.

“When you make new signings it’s always a gamble, but we talk to these guys extensively over the summer and make sure that, first and foremost, they are good people.”

With two wins in the bag, Dutiaume wants that momentum to continue this weekend.

Saturday brings Coventry to Kirkcaldy – and a swift return for former Fife star, Evan Bloodoff.

He said: “It’s always nice to get that monkey of the back early.

“The wins give the guys confidence – that’s three in a row now – and we want to continue to build on that.

“We had the run of the first 10 minutes of the game against Coventry last weekend, but they had a good push back though, and we were fortunate enough to counter on our chances and put them away.

“They’ll be feeling a little hard done by, but we also displayed significantly better signs on Sunday, and if we can bring that work level we’ll be competitive all weekend.

“The trip down south to Guildford is hellish but we’ll make sure we prep the guys for it.

“They’ve had a bit of time off this week to recover because that was the first weekend where we really had two tough games so it was back to work on Tuesday afternoon.

“Guildford are a team who made a lot of waves in the league last year with the results they produced.

“They’ve strengthened so it will be a tough test.”