Todd Dutiaume: Positives in the pain of defeat

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Todd Dutiaume drew many, many positives from the play-off semi-final defeat - but it still hurt.

He spoke of the team executing the game plan, of playing with great resilience against the very best club in the country, and of a whole string of immense performances from net to forward line.

But the scoreboard come 60 minutes nudged them out of the showcase final, and into the sideshow that is the third-fourth place play-off. The game no player really wants to take part in.

He plans to ice some of the guys who have stayed on the bench in recent weeks - to give them an opportunity to enjoy playing on the biggest stage.

But he wants everyone to savour a final 60 minutes together before this team goes its separate ways.

‘’After the disappointment of defeat has maybe gone down, there is a chance to lace up one more time with these guys,’’ he said. ‘’They have all got close and had a great time playing with each other.’’

There was praise from many in the media conference for the manner in which Flyers transformed their season, and it gave Dutiaumn an opportunity to reflect on the story so far in the EIHL.

‘’Coming from the SNL we had guys who were playing roller hockey aged 13, and we gave them a chance. We stood by them - guys like Gunn, Wilson and Muir.

‘‘Today, Tommy Muir played one of the best games of his season. He was immense. He was hitting, making blocks, stopping shots up against some of the biggest forwards going,

‘’And yet, three years ago when we dipped our toe in the EIHL we were mocked and told we’d never be successful unless we signed high flying UK players, but our team is part of the community - we wanted to give them a chance.

‘‘Year one we struggled, Year two we made the quarter-finals and now here we are in the semi-finals .

‘‘That will raise expectations, but the experience here will be good for us. The guys can see what it is all about ...’’

Dutiaume also believes this year could spark great interest Scotland wide in the game.

‘‘Braehead qualified first, but to be the second Scottish team in the finals was a tremendous accomplishment for us and Scottish ice hockey.

‘’It shows the game is on the up. We had sell out crowds in Kirkcaldy, Dundee and Braehead - that tells you people want to watch good hockey. When you have a league that has a 16-point gap between second and ninth it is doing something right.

‘‘This has also been a great buzz for the town and the guys gain confidence from that . From them to have come from tenth to here is fantastic.

‘‘Go back to last November and we went down to tenth and it was not comfortable. There were difficult times, but they started rolling a snowball down a hill. It just got bigger and bigger ...’’