Reber happy to be Flyers middle man

Matt Reber in action against Hull on Saturday. Pic: Steve Gunn
Matt Reber in action against Hull on Saturday. Pic: Steve Gunn

Matt Reber is relishing the opportunity to play in his favoured position as Fife Flyers continue to fight for a place in the Elite League play-offs.

A team reshuffle two weeks ago saw the speed-skating American moved from wing to centre, and he has responded with four goals and five assists in the four games since.

And Reber admitted that the line change has given him a new lease of life.

“It’s been good,” he told the Press. “Being in the middle there’s a little bit more defensive responsibility, but I find that I get the puck more and there’s more open ice to skate, which I like to do.

“It’s hard to tell which position is my best - I’d like to think I’m functional in both so I can play wherever the team needs - but I will say that lately, over the last couple of weeks, it’s felt really good being in the middle.”

Reber is now teaming up with Jordan Fulton and Ned Lukacevic on either wing, and the 26-year-old feels there is good chemistry between the high-scoring trio.

“‘Fults’ and ‘Luka’ have been working really hard to retrieve pucks and come up with loose pucks, and in the last few games it’s been clicking a little bit,” Reber said.

“Those guys give you different looks and together they are pretty lethal tandem.

“’Luka’ is highly skilled and ‘Fults’ has a lot of talent too - but where ‘Fults’ is most productive is down low, winning battles and protecting the puck.

“Between the two of them it makes my job fairly simple.”

Reber was speaking after scoring two goals in Saturday’s 5-0 home win against Hull Stringrays, which he viewed as a vital two points against a fellow play-off rival.

“At this point every game is crucial, but especially against a Hull team that is right below us and with games in hand.

“Any time we can beat them it’s like a four point swing.”

Reber was also pleased that the team’s offensive firepower was matched by a rare shut-out in defence.

“That’s something we focused on,” he said. “We’ve always known since the beginning of year that scoring goals wasn’t really going to be our problem, it’s just a matter of playing a complete game, over 200 feet of the ice.

“We still had a couple of breakdowns but Kevin Regan was great, as always, and he bailed us out to make sure we were able to get the win.”

Flyers are currently sixth in the EIHL but under serious pressure from the teams below, however Reber is confident that the team can make it all the way to the Nottingham finals for a second successive season.

“It’s a sprint to the finish line,” he said.

“Everyone still remembers what this team was able to accomplish last year, and I think we have a better team now - we’ve improved in a lot of areas.

“It’s just a matter of putting it all together and everyone buying in - now’s the time to do it. We’ve got to believe in ourselves even if other people may be having their doubts.

“Confidence in here goes a long way.”