Ice hockey: Fife Flyers begin year with two defeats
Fife Flyers' associate coach Danny Stewart insists his team are playing well and will get the rewards, despite ending the weekend without a point.
Although the Kirkcaldy side ended 2014 with a 2-0 Hogmanay win over Edinburgh Capitals, they began 2015 with contrasting fortune, losing to both Braehead Clan and Cardiff Devils.
But the Flyers' man says that despite sitting in sixth place, they need to start picking up points and get climbing the table.
He said: "We had two tough games, certainly, but in both cases I think we did enough to win both of them.
"We are still playing good hockey and the focus has to remain on that. If we can maintain these kinds of displays, then we'll get the rewards.
"We're in sixth at the moment and it's a position we're not satisfied with, but we have to start finding our way to win games in the league and in the Conference."
Flyers hosted Braehead Clan on Friday night, but saw Scott Pitt open the scoring before Bobby Chaumont levelled things as Fife were sunk 4-2.
Neil Trimm and Leigh Salters increased the lead for the visitors, with Chaumont adding another until Pitt clinched the first two points of a six-point weekend for the Glasgow side.
The Flyers travelled to Cardiff on Sunday and in a game that saw 13 goals fly in, it was the Kirkcaldy men that came off the worst in an 8-5 defeat.
Despite Jamie Milam opening the scoring for the Flyers, Cardiff turned it around with Brent Walton, Jesse Mychan and Joey Haddad all finding the net.
A double by Jordan Fulton drew Fife level until Andrew Hotham struck again to re-establish the lead, with another from Haddad and two from Mychan, for his hat-trick, making it 7-3.
Although Ned Lukacevic pulled another back for the visitors, Hotham added the Welsh side's eighth to kill the game off despite a late finish from Fulton to complete his hat-trick.
As for Braehead, they went from Friday's win in Kirkcaldy to a towsy 2-1 victory over Dundee Stars on Saturday in the Tayside club's only game of the weekend.
Clan dominated throughout, but Paul Swindlehurst gave Stars an unlikely lead, which was cancelled out by Trimm in the second period with Leigh Salters scoring the winner.
Dundee coach Jeff Hutchins remained upbeat, despite the loss and with a team short on numbers due to injury.
He said: "We only had 12 guys so we were depleted in numbers and to hold a team like Braehead Clan to only a 2-1 loss wasn't too bad considering.
"We had a powerplay near the end to try and get something, plus chances didn't quite fall for us in the last couple of minutes, but I can't fault the guys for their effort."
Braehead then went to Edinburgh on Sunday and claimed a 5-0 win, with Clan netminder Kyle Jones notching his sixth shutout for the season and his third against the Capitals.
Zack Fitzgerald, Salters and Trimm saw Braehead three up before Ben Davies added a fourth and Salters again completing a successful night and weekend for Ryan Finnerty's men.
It put Braehead four points clear at the top of the Elite League as they completed a full six-point weekend over their Conference rivals.
As for Edinburgh, it ended a testing weekend where their two losses was compounded by the decision to sack their defenceman Joe Grimaldi.
Prior to Braehead's visit on Sunday, they took on Nottingham Panthers 24 hours before and went down 6-1, with Loren Barron scoring the consolation on a poor night.
Grimaldi's attack on Panthers' Max Parent was the talking point as he speared his opponent, threw his helmet then fought him, earning him 67 penalty minutes for that one moment.
While the American would have missed the Braehead game anyway, the club took the decision to rip up his contract.
The club's co-owner Scott Neil said: "You can't defend that and we've made our decision. We just have to focus on getting our group together and win some games.
"Having watched the full incident, it doesn't make for great viewing. I think Joe is someone that plays with a lot of passion and it got the better of him."
Belfast Giants 9-3 Dundee Stars
Edinburgh Capitals 0-2 Fife Flyers
Fife Flyers 2-4 Braehead Clan
Braehead Clan 2-1 Dundee Stars
Nottingham Panthers 6-1 Edinburgh Capitals
Cardiff Devils 8-5 Fife Flyers
Edinburgh Capitals 0-5 Braehead Clan