The Fife Flyers welcomed Continental opposition to Fife Ice Arena for the first time since the 2019/20 preseason when DEL2 side EV Landshut were the visitors. Facing the Flyers tonight were the Tilburg Trappers who play in the German third tier, Oberliga. The Dutch side were playing their fifth preseason match and came in with a record of 3 wins and 1 defeat. The Flyers of course had split last weekend’s series with the Dundee Stars.
Fife made a couple of changes to their roster with the absence of the injured Johan Eriksson whilst Jonas Emmerdahl and James Spence were scratched. Making their first appearances for the Flyers were defenceman Aleksi Mäkelä and winger Casey Gilling. Trappers had 20 skaters and 2 goalies on their bench, that’s a couple more players on the bench than allowed for regular EIHL matches.
The game started with play sweeping from end to end and the first whistle wasn’t until well into the third minute of play. Trappers Reno de Hondt had the games first big chance when he was in tight on Shane Owen who made the save. Moments later and the Flyers almost opened the scoring as Teemu Pulkkinen rang the outside of the post. Both goalies were looking sharp as Owen once again came up big and in the final seconds of the period, that had the teams skate at even strength throughout with no penalties called, Cedric Andree in the visitors net stuck out a left leg to deny Adam Holwell.
The Flyers broke through 44 seconds into the second period when Anton Eriksson, cutting down the right side, his off wing, fired a shot from the top of the circles that found the bottom corner on the stick side of Andree. Flyers continued to create chances but found Andree in solid form whilst at the other end Shane Owen dealt with the few raids that the Trappers could muster. With most of the play toward the visitors net it was little surprise when the Flyers extended their lead in the final five minutes of the middle period when Max Humitz popped the water bottle, going high glove on the Trappers goalie.
Shane Owen was quickly called into action in the third period as he was bowled into by one of his own defencemen after denying a Trappers break. Andree continued to shine however as he stoned Ben Hawerchuk on a two man break with Collin Shirley when he went sprawling post to post to keep the puck out. Flyers couldn’t find a third goal and had another chance in the 44th minute when Lucas Chiodo was tripped going clean through and the result was a penalty shot. The Trappers goalie once again came out on top to deny Chiodo. Trappers looked for a late push in the game and Max Hermens was in all alone but couldn’t find a way past Owen. Trappers called a time out and with three minutes left on the clock they pulled Andree for the extra skater. Fife almost broke out twice to get a shot at the empty net but the only penalty of the game was called on Lucas Chiodo, for a mid ice trip, with just under 90 seconds of the game remaining. Trappers with a 6 on 4 advantage made that pay and broke Owen’s shutout bid just 10 seconds into the powerplay. Andree once again went to the bench after the restart but this time Fife managed to get clean puck possession and on a breakout Reece Harsh hit the empty net at 59:26 to seal the win.
Unsurprisingly Man of the Match for the visitors was goalie Cedrick Andree whilst Max Humitz picked up the home award.
The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 17th September when they meet CSM Corona Brasov – tickets can be bought online here: Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.