Fife Flyers forward Ned Lukacevic insists that Fife Flyers can turn a frustrating season into a successful one.
Lukacevic scored a stunning hat-trick in Sunday’s 8-4 victory over Dundee Stars as Flyers bounced back from a dismal penalty shots defeat on home ice the previous night.
The contrasting weekend performances perfectly sum up Flyers’ inconsistent campaign, but Lukacevic reckons the team can still finish the season on a high.
“First of all, it was a great team effort on Sunday,” he told the Press.
“Saturday night was a tough performance, but the great thing about professional sport is you can get back at it the next day.
“We don’t have time to dwell on the negatives, so we tried to learn from Saturday and come out with a better performance.
Maybe it doesn’t always show on the ice that we’re on the same page, but we’re all one great group of pals and we’re all very close
“We’re beating a dead horse with a stick over the inconsistency, it’s been like that all year and it’s been really frustrating.
“It’s disappointing but at the same time we can still do something special.”
Lukacevic pointed to this time last year as an example of how a season can be transformed at the last minute.
“The way we finished last season rectified our whole year,” he said.
“We were in ninth place all year then slipped into seventh on the last day.
“We went to Nottingham and it was all hurrah and balloons and everything was great.
“We can still do that - and we believe we can.
“We can’t look back to the last seven months now but we can look forward.
“We know we have the team to do it, it’s just a matter of playing well and going into the playoffs with little bit of confidence.”
Lukacevic’s believes Flyers’ inconsistencies have been mostly self-inflicted due to the team’s tendency to let their heads drop in games.
“We’re up for every game,” he said, “We’re prepared mentally and physically, and ready to go.
“But sometimes we just hurt ourselves by sinking our heads - a lot of it comes down to belief.
“We’ve got to be positive as professionals but sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.
“Hopefully we can all look in the mirror and take a bit of positivity from the way we played on Sunday.”
Lukacevic agreed that the key to Flyers’ playoff hopes will be focusing more on the defensive side of their game.
“You seen in last year’s semi-final that both teams played great defence and it could have went either way,” he said.
“We’ve got to play from the back out.
“Regan has been there for us all year and we know we’re always going to get goals.
“I’ll match our top six against any top six in the league, and our third line contributes here and there too.
“We know how to play defence - we’ve just got to be committed to it.
“We’ve got a lot of offensive flair but maybe sometimes we take too many chances.
“I don’t know what the answer is but we definitely have to play tighter defensively.”
Lukacevic also assured fans that the dressing room is united ahead of the final push for glory.
“We’ve got a really close group in there and we all know what’s at stake,” he said.
“Maybe it doesn’t always show on the ice that we’re on the same page, but we’re all one great group of pals and we’re all very close.
“And at the end of this run hopefully we can say we’re a great hockey club as well - that’s the goal.”