Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume reckons ice hockey fans are finding it hard to predict the outcome of games in the EIHL this season.
As Flyers get ready for the short trip to play Dundee Stars, followed by Cardiff Devils on home ice, this weekend, Dutes says the teams in the league are so evenly matched that they can all take points off each other.
“Teams are flip-flopping, but this isn’t a Flyers issue, this is a league-wide issue,” he said.
“If you keep an eye on all the results you’ll see this.
“I think what a lot of people are having a hard time dealing with is that this is the new reality of the league this season.
“The teams are so closely matched and so heavily scouted by each other that the margins are extremely fine.”
Dutiaume says last weekend’s win over Belfast Giants, followed by the and loss to Guildford Flames, is a perfect example of how teams have to keep their focus for the entire duration of a match or run the risk of losing.
“From playing so well on the Saturday night and the first period of the second game against two top teams in this league, for whatever reason we take our foot off the gas.”
“Trying to regain form after you’ve slipped is a very difficult task.
“Credit to them, they battled their way back into a hockey game after that five or so minutes of madness, but then they go and win the rest of that game 1-0 which is a shame.
“In over 120 minutes of hockey last weekend we only really played five disappointing minutes.
“From a coaching perspective normally you would get away with that. We didn’t.
“But it just goes to show you, you can’t fall asleep in this league.
“I’ve been saying it since the start of the season, but that’s part of sport.
“It’s so easy to stand back and say you have to maintain your focus for 60 minutes.
“Yeah, we know that, but that happens in sport all the time.
“It’s the only thing that will hold this team back from realising its full potential.
“So it’s just ensuring that we go out there and maintain that focus for the entire match.
“Sure, we’ll get beaten in some matches but you don’t want to get beaten in matches where you’re playing well and you have control of them.”
This weekend will see Flyers travel to play bottom of the table Dundee Stars on Saturday.
On Sunday, they will play host to Cardiff Devils at the Fife Ice Arena with an early 5.30pm face-off,.
Dutiaume says he won’t be fooled by Dundee’s lowly position.
“They are bottom of the table but in this league that can change every week,” he said.
“They have done pretty favourably against us this season, and Cardiff is a dangerous team.
“But you can look at the schedule and say that about every weekend.
“Every team is capable of beating each other in this league.”