Match Report – Sunday 24th September 2023

The Fife Flyers and Glasgow Clan resumed battle for Challenge Cup points less than 24 hours after Glasgow blanked their hosts in their own home opener. Both rosters were unchanged from the previous evening with Reece Harsch and Johan Eriksson the Fife scratches and Glasgow, still without the injured Charlie Combs, starting Antti Karjalainen in net and resting the shutout man Jake Kielly. The overwhelming theme of the match up was set within the opening 30 seconds by which time the Flyers had already tested the big Finnish goalie in the visitors net with four shots. Two minutes in however and Shane Owen had to look sharp to deny Clan the opener. Back came the Flyers and a minute later an Adam Holwell shot narrowly missed as he picked up a rebound from a Casey Gilling drive. Fife were on the man advantage after four minutes when Sol took a roughing minor but they couldn’t get anything set up in the Clan zone. In the 8th minute Zach Vinnell rang Owen’s crossbar with a fine shot but Fife were carrying the majority of the play towards Karjalainen’s charge. Stephen Desrocher looked to have picked the corner but the Clan goalie got a glove on the puck before Clan went on their first powerplay late in the period. Clan were dangerous and Owen again had to come up big as the period ended goalless. It was almost a reversal of the previous night’s game with Fife this time heavily outshooting the visitors but facing a hot goalie.

The opening goal felt like a crucial moment and 41 seconds into the middle period it went the way of the home side. Anthon Eriksson with a left handed shot coming in off the right wing ripped the puck blocker side to find the net. This was actually the Flyers first competitive goal in almost eight periods of hockey stretching back to last season when they scored early in the third period against Dundee on April 1st before being blanked in their final game at Guildford and of course last night in Glasgow. Fife went back on another powerplay with an undisciplined roughing call on Harrison shortly after but the home crowd were stunned when Clan conjured up a shorthanded goal when Luke Lynch executed well on a breakaway.  The visitors almost had the lead soon after but Owen came up huge with a sprawling save before Clan once again found themselves on the penalty kill including a ten second spell of 5 on 3. The latter half of the Flyers powerplay saw them force three solid saves from Karjalainen as they were camped in the Clan zone for most of the penalty. Teemu Pulkkinen sailed a shot over the bar when free in the slot but moments later he was pulled down when breaking through on goal and referee Craig awarded a penalty shot. Pulkkinen converted with a nice move to freeze the goalie to give the Flyers the lead just over halfway through the period. Perhaps the turning point of the entire match came a few minutes later when Gary Haden, who has goals in each of his last six games against the Flyers, went in all alone on Owen from his own side of the red line but he was stoned twice by the Fife netminder. Another Harrison penalty gave the Flyers their 6th man advantage of the night and although they had a number of good looks they just couldn’t solve Karjalainen in the visitors net.

Following Owen making an important shoulder save the vital third goal arrived five minutes into the third period when Max Humitz showed some nifty hands to deke the Clan goalie. A couple of minutes later and the same player added some insurance for the Flyers with another display of soft hands and outwaiting the big Finn. Ben Hawerchuk then somehow put the puck past the post with the net gaping. Flyers killed a Clan penalty with relative ease before Casey Gilling swatted the puck out of mid air and was very unlucky as the puck went bar down but was deemed not to have crossed the line. Glasgow with their fourth roughing call of the night were back on the penalty kill with seven minutes remaining and Flyers went close again when Troy Lajeunesse hit the post. Playing the final two minutes with another powerplay the Flyers got a fifth goal with 18 seconds remaining when Pulkkinen bagged his second with another finish that was all about slick hands.

The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 30th September when they entertain the Belfast Giants  – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.


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