Fife Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume admitted that a major, penalty taken by 6ft 4in Swedish defenceman Jonas Emmerdahl “took the life out of us”.
The checking from behind incident at Elite League pace-setters Sheffield Steelers came early in the final period with the scoreline at 2-1 in favour of the men from The House of Steel.
Steelers’ power play then scored three goals in under six minutes to win 5-2 and Dutiaume reflected that the trip to the current Elite League leaders was always going to be the toughest test to date for his new-look squad which has a number of first-season professionals in the ranks.
The experienced coach added: “We knew we would have to absorb some heavy pressure in the first period which we countered.
“We managed to come out of that 1-1 and that gave the guys some confidence going into the second.”
Fife lost a second goal in the middle session but the coach argued that the five-minute major “took the life out of us”. Steelers scored three between 43min 58sec and 49min 12sec with a man advantage.
Dutiaume added: “We got a late one but it was little consolation at that point.”
Despite the defeat, Flyers remain in eighth spot in the ten-strong league with two points from five games but they prop up the three-strong Challenge Cup section with three points from six outings.
Dundee are second with seven points from the same number of games while Giants are well out in front with 12 points from seven starts.
Fife have a clear week to work on their game before heading for Belfast Giants on Saturday (19.00) in the Challenge Cup and they return to The Fife Ice Arena on Sunday to square-up to Dundee Stars in the same competition (18.00).