Match Report – Saturday 7th October 2023

Fife Flyers hosted the Dundee Stars who were looking for their first points in this season’s Challenge Cup. The Flyers scratches for this one were Casey Gilling and Reece Harsch with Brodie Kay also coming back into the lineup. It was Dundee who looked dangerous in the opening minutes of the game and 90 seconds in Shane Owen had his first big save on Carter Johnson but was then thankful to hear the clang of puck against pipe seconds later from a Jake Elmer effort from a tight angle. The visitors did however get the breakthrough in somewhat fortuitous fashion as Brady Pouteau attempting to direct the puck around the back of his net put the disc five hole on an unsuspecting Owen. The last Stars player to touch the puck was later corrected from Phelan to Spencer Naas. Adam Holwell carried play to the Stars end and his set up on 6 minutes for Johan Eriksson saw the ex Stars man shoot narrowly wide. Dundee had their tails up and were carrying most of the play towards Owen who made another solid save to deny Drydn Dow who walked right down the gut to fire in a shot. Their persistence paid off however after a quick breakout when Rinaldi fed the puck over to Ryan Valentini who tipped the shot high into the net. Things looked ever bleaker for the Flyers with just 9 ticks left in the period when Anthony Rinaldi turned scorer when his slight touch on the puck saw it flutter up over Shane Owen’s shoulder and find the twine.

Into the second period and the Flyers went on the first powerplay of the night three minutes in. As the man advantage was about to end the Flyers got their break when Johan Eriksson’s shot rebounded and hit Troy Lajeunesse to land in the net. The Auld Barn came alive and so did the Flyers. They made it a one goal game on the half hour mark when Kyle Osterberg laid a beauty of a pass over to Johan Eriksson who tapped it home from the top of the crease. Two minutes later and the momentum that the Flyers had gained was almost snuffed out when Valentini skated in all alone on Owen but the Flyers goalie shut him down with a fine pad save. At the other end Kevin Carr made a huge save to prevent Anthon Eriksson from levelling the game and with five minutes left before the period break Marc LeFebrve called his timeout. That seemed to settle the Stars who gained a bit more of a foothold in the game although Sean Allen took an unnecessary roughing penalty on the buzzer. The Stars killed the penalty to start the third period but they were about to be hit by a trio of Flyers goals in a 138 second spell as Flyers mounted wave after wave of offence on an increasingly beleaguered looking Stars blueline. The leveler came from a nice redirect off the stick of Kyle Osterberg from a Troy Lajeunesse pass, then Teemu Pulkkinen dived to poke home a loose puck in the crease before Collin Shirley gave the Flyers clear daylight when he picked up the puck in the high slot and with Carr scrambling around he slid it home. The Stars could muster very little offence at this point in the game and when Drydn Dow was called on another avoidable penalty the Flyers powerplay clicked with a sweet goal when a Lajeunesse saucer pass found Johan Eriksson for a one timer which Carr couldn’t move laterally fast enough to stop.

With five minutes remaining coach Coolen put on the all Brit line of Fynn Page, James Spence and Brodie Kay who played wing and the youngsters held their own before they came back on again next again shift. The game drifted to a conclusion with the Flyers taking their first penalty of the game with less than two minutes remaining but the Stars powerplay could not get what would only have been a consolation.

The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 14th October 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.