Fife Flyers can win the league – Bari McKenzie

Bari McKenzie, Fife Flyers (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Bari McKenzie, Fife Flyers (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Bari McKenzie says Fife Flyers haven’t given up on the league title.

The forward is confident that the top prize in the EIHL is wide open and the Kirkcaldy side have as much chance as any other team in the table of claiming it at the end of the season.

“It’s been weird because usually by this point in the season there’s normally a couple of teams that branch off and you can say that they are probably going to win the league, but this year it’s close,” he said.

“We had a bad month a couple of months ago and we didn’t win many games. The fans weren’t happy with our displays, which they are entitled not to be, but if you look at the league, it’s still so close.

“Every team is losing games, no one is walking away with it.

“My overall outlook on it is that we are doing well. We have a smaller squad but we have a very good squad and when we play well we are one of the better teams in the league.

“Hopefully we can stay injury free and if we reach the play-offs anything can happen.

“Would I say the league is over? No. Why can’t we go and win the league? We’re not that far behind top spot and every team is beating every team so why not?

“There’s no point in us saying we can’t win the league now. If you asked a Nottingham player or a Guildford player do you think you can still win the league they’d probably say yes.”

Key to claiming the top spot is consistency and McKenzie says that following up last Saturday’s superb 5-1 win over Belfast Giants with a 4-3 home ice loss to Guildford Flames is a trend that Flyers need to cut out.

He said: “I think we had a bad eight minutes on Sunday night and it cost us the game. Unfortunately that’s hockey.

“We played well for the most part of the game. It’s unfortunate but we have to learn from our mistakes and move forward from it.

“I think we know that when we play in the right way we’re good, but if we take a shift off or a period off we always concede.

“That’s a lesson we have to learn - we have to play for the full 60 minutes every game.

“That was proven on Saturday, when we do play well for 60 minutes we are successful.

“So we have to take the positives from the weekend and learn from the negatives that cost us.”

This weekend Flyers travel to play Dundee Stars before Cardiff Devils visit the Fife Ice Arena and McKenzie is expecting two tough games.

“We beat Cardiff here last time with a really good 60 minute performance. Down there we felt like we got screwed over a bit so we now have a point to prove and they’ll be coming up wanting to get one over on us after what happened last time here so I think it’ll be a really good game.

“Dundee’s form is up and down but they are a good team so it’ll be a tough weekend.

“There’s no easy games in this league anymore so we have to go with the mindset that we are going to play our game, concentrate on ourselves and not the opposition.

Off the ice McKenzie was one of the hosts of Flyers’ hockey night , staged in association with the Fife Free Press – and says he enjoyed it so much he’s hoping for a repeat.

“It was great,” he says, “It’s good for the fans to see the players and Dutes away from the rink.

“I think there had been a lot of moans and groans about how we’d been performing, certain players leaving and things like that.

“As a player you see that. It was good for us and the fans to get away to a neutral venue. The fans had a few beers and we just all had a good time.

“They could see that we’re all good guys.

“We’re all here to win, none of us are here to lose hockey games and when they see us out of the rink environment they just look at us in a different stead.

“Hopefully we can do another one around January/February time because everybody seemed to enjoy it.”