A dressing room heart-to-heart may have been the secret behind Fife Flyers best ever weekend in the Elite League.
The team meeting was held prior to the double-header that saw Flyers end a two-year wait for their first wins outside Scotland with back-to-back victories in Sheffield and Cardiff.
The talk focused around rumours that changes could be made to the roster following a slow start to the season.
But head coach Todd Dutiaume and associate coach Danny Stewart told the players that they had the club’s full backing.
Dutiaume told the Press: “The team has come under some heavy criticism from a few sources, but we had an extensive meeting before the weekend where the players were told that the coaching staff were sticking by them.
“We recruited these guys and we told them that we believed they were ready to turn the corner.
“Maybe some guys were concerned - a lot of people have been talking about wanting changes to be made. The guys had their own personal words to say to each other and you can see they are getting tighter as a group.
“That showed over the weekend because they never gave up – especially after going 2-0 down in Cardiff when it would have been easy to let the points slip.
“It’s been a long wait for us to get some points on the road in this league. So to come out with four points is a huge accomplishment for this team, and it could do wonders for the club.”
Dutiaume was delighted with the support received from the 100-strong group of Fifers who travelled south with the team.
And he has called on the rest of the club’s fans, in particular those who use social media, to stay positive as the team looks to push on.
“Social media is probably not the best thing for a hockey player, especially if you’re not winning, because the negative people get heard the most,” he said.
“I’m not on social media but I’m told that after a win you don’t get too much traffic, and after a loss it goes through the roof.
“When you’re struggling and not winning many games reading negative stuff about yourself is not going to help. The last thing we want is to lose a guy to confidence.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion - that comes with the sport - and I don’t want to discourage people from expressing theirs.
“But there’s definitely a negative core who speak irresponsibly at times and think they know everything.”
Flyers welcome Sheffield on Saturday before travelling to Nottingham on Sunday.
“These teams are picking up losses that they are not accustomed to so we’ll be faced with grumpy bears this weekend,” Dutiaume added.
“We’ve proved to ourselves that we can play with these guys, but we don’t want to be one weekend wonders.
“It will be difficult, these teams don’t take losing lightly, and the pressure will be on them to bounce back. But we want to get the win at home for the fans who have been patient with us.”
Justin DaCosta remains sidelined through injury but will helping the defence from behind the bench.