The Fife Flyers wrapped up their preseason matches with the visit of last season’s Champions of Romania, CSM Corona Brasov. The visitors were coming off the back of a 7-3 defeat the previous night up in Dundee whilst the Flyers were looking to make it a perfect weekend at home after their 3-1 win against Dutch outfit the Tilburg Trappers.
Brasov had five players on their roster who had previously appeared in Kirkcaldy in EIHL action although all eyes for the home crowd were naturally on the return of a Flyers fan favourite, Chase Schaber, who spent four seasons at Fife Ice Arena from 2016-2020.
The Flyers were still without the injured Johan Eriksson but James Spence and Jonas Emmerdahl returned to the lineup meaning they iced 16 non homegrown players.
Brasov made a strong start to the game and had the Flyers hemmed in their own zone for the opening 90 seconds. The Flyers however were first on the board with exactly two minutes on the clock when Zoltan Toke spilled the puck and Troy Lajeunesse dived full length to poke it into the net. Matyas Kovács almost had the teams level after seven minutes but his effort struck the crossbar. The first powerplay of the game went to the visitors but Fife held firm to kill it with Owen called upon to make a couple of strong saves. The visitors were not to be denied however and Judd Blackwater levelled when he was on hand to tap the puck into the net via a post with twelve minutes on the clock. Max Humitz was then stopped close in by Toke and Brady Pouteau struck the outside of the post. Brasov took the lead with under four minutes of the period remaining when Chase Schaber split the defence and walked straight down the slot to beat Owen through the five hole. Schabes last goal on Kirkcaldy ice coming in February 2020 in a 3-2 win against Manchester, his final goal for the Flyers.
Fife started the second period with half a powerplay remaining and Lucas Chiodo forced a fine stop with a blast as Brasov returned to full strength. That man Schaber did it again early in the period when he went bar down on Owen following a face off win. Flyers took a penalty next and Teemu Pulkkinen shorthanded almost got them back on terms before Shane Owen had to rescue his side when he went post to post. Flyers however were taking the game to the visitors and created several chances in the following minutes but Toke was performing well in the Romanian sides net. A Flyers goal did arrive just over midway through the game when Aleksi Mäkelä fired one from distance that beat the keeper on his blocker side. Owen made a huge save to deny Daniel Koger who was in all alone and seconds later Pulkkinen couldn’t believe he hadn’t pulled his team level when his snapshot from the top of the crease was blocked by Toke. Almost immediately the game swung the way of the visitors who scored a quick fire double to end the period. Connor Sills found the top corner from the high slot and just before the buzzer Kovács won a foot race for the puck and snuck the puck past Owen.
The third period saw Fife dominate the first ten minutes and although they put a lot of rubber on Toke they couldn’t fashion the quality chances to beat him. Max Humitz on a shorthanded breakaway came closest as the visitors were content to mainly sit back and soak up the Flyers pressure and look to hit on the counter, classic road hockey with a lead. A Flyers powerplay with a little over seven minutes remaining presented the home side with a possible lifeline and Collin Shirley’s neat finish at the back post brought the crowd back into the game. Another man advantage followed almost immediately which the visitors killed and as the clock wound down the Flyers pulled Owen for the extra attacker for the final two minutes. Brasov held firm despite being outshot in the period by a lopsided 19-1 margin.
Unsurprisingly Chase Schaber was voted as the Man of the Match for Brasov with Anthon Eriksson picking up the Flyers award.
The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 24th September when they meet the Glasgow Clan – tickets can be bought online here: Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.