Depleted Fife Flyers were running on empty towards the end of their overtime defeat at Nottingham Panthers last night.
Head coach Todd Dutiaume admitted his team looked ‘tired’ and ‘weary’ as they lost the lead three times before eventually succumbing in the extra period.
Injuries meant Fife again started with just four regular defenceman, which dropped to three after Ricards Birzins picked up a knock towards the end of 60 minutes.
In the circumstances, Dutiaume was pleased that his side was able to take a consolation point from a difficult venue.
“It’s an important point,” he said.
“I thought we competed well in parts of the game, but in other parts we looked tired.
“Maybe because we’ve been playing short-staffed, or because we had the day off yesterday and didn’t have any ice, but that’s me looking for excuses.
“Nottingham threw everything at us and I thought we countered well, but by overtime we lost another D-man and we looked weary.”
The result means an under-strength Flyers side have taken seven points from the last 10, providing a timely boost to their position in the EIHL standings.
“We’ve finally got ourselves in a position where we’re picking points out of most games, and it’s important we keep that mentality,” Dutiaume added.
“It’s been a decent little run, and a rejuvenation for this club going into an important time of the season.”
Danick Gauthier fired Fife into a first minute lead before a five-on-three strike from Chris Stewart levelled for the Panthers on 7.29.
Flyers regained the lead 30 seconds later as Joe Basaraba struck short-handed, but it would be all square at the first interval when Robert Farmer levelled at 2-2 in the final minute of the first period.
The visitors led for the third time on 23.07 when Evan Bloodoff struck, and Shane Owen saved a penalty shot from Alex Bolduc to ensure Flyers carried their 3-2 lead into the final period.
Panthers were level again just two minutes after the restart through Jon Rheault, but the home side relied on netminder Patrick Munson to make the save of the game from a two-on-one break to prevent Fife from taking a 4-3 lead.
Birzins’ injury meant forward Bari McKenzie deputised in defence, and once the game went to overtime, Panthers took just 57 seconds to hit the game-winner through Robert Farmer to seal the extra point for the home side.
You can read the full match report from the Nottingham Panthers official website here.