Chase Schaber believes Fife Flyers are heading in the right direction after revealing that the dressing room camaraderie has improved from last season.
The 26-year-old forward has picked up where he left off at the end of last season with some impressive performances including two stunning goals in the 5-1 win over Braehead Clan on Sunday.
The team overall is showing some early promise, with six wins in nine competitive games so far, and Schaber is enjoying the bond among his team mates.
“It’s just that connection,” he told the Press.
“Last year there was some individuality, and some cliques, you could say.
“This year we’re all together. There’s nobody left on the side, and everybody is included.
“We’re a unit, we’re all as one, and I think that’s the biggest difference.
“We don’t force, we encourage. We win as a team and we lose as a team.
“We do everything as a team and I think that will pay dividends towards the end of the season.”
Schaber pointed to his second goal on Sunday night, scored just five seconds before the second period buzzer, as an example of the team spirit and encouragement from the bench.
“It’s little things that guys maybe don’t notice up in the stands,” he said.
“When I grabbed that puck I didn’t know how much time was left on the clock, but as I was skating by the bench, all the boys were screaming, ‘move your feet - go, go, go’.
“It was like they poured gas on the fire, and all of a sudden I was at the net, and I just had to beat the goalie. I flicked it up over the top of his glove, it went in, and the barn went crazy.
“That was a great feeling, but it could’ve been any other regular play.
“It shows all the guys are together, and whenever there’s a chance they are all on their feet, and are excited.
“Guys want to win here, and it’s always nice to hear that encouragement from the bench. It’s a good feeling when that’s happening.”
Schaber also believes that his own game is benefitting from being part of a hard-working team.
“It helps to have a whole team behind you that is going, and playing their hearts out,” he said.
“Every guy knows what they bring to the table, and they go out every night and execute it.
“You can never substitute hard work, and that’s what I like about this team - it works hard. That’s what I’ve always prided myself on.
“You can always work on skills but keeping that work ethic is something not every guy has, but I feel as a unit we have that all together, which helps me individually and raises my game as well.”
Saturday’s convincing win over Clan followed the 7-1 hammering dished out in Braehead a fortnight ago, and Schaber is relishing the turnaround from last season, when Clan dominated the rivalry.
“Last year it seemed like it didn’t matter what we did in games, or in training, we couldn’t put our finger on it and get them,” he said.
“They would be close games but they would somehow outscore us and we were just left scratching our heads.
“This year we have an amazing team, we’re all a tight group of guys, and when we play the right way, we can be a dangerous team.
“It shows with our offensive capabilities and Braehead is an example of that with a 12-2 scoreline in two games against them, and I feel like we can do that against other teams as well.”