On the night that heralded the Fife Flyers 85th anniversary they were along familiar lines as their opening weekend with Reece Harsch and Johan Eriksson scratches along with young Brodie Kay. The Giants were looking to make it a perfect four wins from four games in the Challenge Cup to take a stranglehold on top spot qualification.
Flyers started the match with fantastic tempo and inside the opening 38 seconds they forced a smart stop from Jackson Whistle as he was tested by Anthon Eriksson and the visitors were called for the first infraction of the game. The Fife powerplay was slick and they moved the puck around well with Teemu Pulkkinen and Max Humitz both having chances but Whistle was alert and was tracking the puck well. The Giants took another penalty as the first was ending but importantly for them they killed off both and settled into the game. With Fife about to go on their first kill of the night Ciaran Long forced a great glove save from Shane Owen with Giants having the extra skater on the delayed call. Fife dealt with the Giants powerplay fairly comfortably and were back on the man advantage themselves midway through the period without really being able to trouble Whistle in the visitors net. Giants gradually took the momentum for the remainder of the period and Owen flashed the leather do deny Quinn Preston before going post to post to stone Mark Cooper as the period closed without any score.
Back to back penalties on the Flyers at the start of the second period saw the Giants continue to take the game to the home side and once again it was Shane Owen who came to the rescue in what will likely be a contender for save of the week when he absolutely robbed Kohei Sato with a sprawling stop. Flyers penalty kill in general however were doing a solid job along with Owen looking in the zone. Giants almost broke the deadlock just over halfway through the game when on an odd man rush a combination of Pulkkinen and the post kept the Flyers goal intact. A few seconds later however the visitors got the breakthrough when Ciaran Long, from the high slot, fired through a ruck of players to find the corner of the net. The remainder of the period saw the better chances go the way of the Giants but the Flyers were still very much alive.
Flyers had an early opportunity on the powerplay in the third period and there were a number of scrambles around Whistle’s net but nothing clear cut. Five minutes into the period there was a huge concern as Greg Printz attempted to rub Anthon Eriksson out along the boards ended with the big Swede colliding at speed with the turnbuckle. Thankfully after a few moments on the ice he was able to skate back to the bench for repairs which was also need on the padding around the end of the plexi-glass. Unfortunately for the Flyers he would manage only one further short shift in the remainder of the game. Shortly after Lucas Chiodo was pulled down as he went in on goal and the Flyers were awarded a penalty shot. Chiodo tried to outwait Whistle but he eventually ran out of real estate when he went wide of goal and hit the side of the net. Chiodo was next to threaten with 8 minutes remaining but with Whistle again forcing the angle for the shot his effort glanced the outside of the post. Whistle’s best stop was arguably moments later when he shut down Max Humitz on the doorstep and that was the last effort that troubled him as the Flyers ended the game killing a 5 on 3 Giants powerplay who cautiously ensured that they retained the puck through to the buzzer for the narrowest of victories.
The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 7th October when they entertain the Dundee Stars – tickets can be bought online here: Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.