This was the first meeting between the Fife Flyers and Manchester Storm this season with the Flyers travelling south with coach Tom Coolen serving his one match suspension following his ejection in the Nottingham game. The Flyers had Brady Pouteau behind the bench being one of the two scratched players with Reece Harsch stepping back in and Troy Lajeunesse missing his second consecutive game. The Storm were at full strength with their two scratches being Finnish forward Santeri Haarala and blueliner Callum Fryer.
The visitors made the worst possible start when they conceded after just 10 seconds. A dump into the Fife zone was played around the boards by Shane Owen but picked up by Storm and the puck was fed to Loren Ulett skating into the top of the crease to squeeze the puck home. The Storm were pretty much camped in the Fife zone for the opening five minutes and it wasn’t until the 9th minute that Evan Weninger had his first meaningful save when he comfortably held an Anthon Eriksson shot. Flyers were growing into the game when out of the blue the Storm doubled their advantage when a speculative shot from the half wall by Stephen Johnson somehow made its way into the net. Moments later and he Flyers went on the powerplay when Tyler Hinam caught Teemu Pulkkinen with a high stick along the boards and was a assessed a double minor penalty as the Fife player was helped off the ice to have the damage repaired. Adam Holwell had the first shot with the man advantage which was well held by Weninger, this was followed by a long range blast by Jonas Emmerdahl but the netminder again did well. Fife were out of luck as they kept up the pressure around the Storm net as Holwell rang a post but seconds later Samuel Tremblay broke away on a shorthanded bid but fired wide. Fife went back into the Storm zone and Lucas Chiodo and Emmerdahl forced pad saves by Weninger as the powerplay came to an end. Play was pretty even for the rest of the period.
Teemu Pulkkinen, it was confirmed, would not return to the game and so James Spence and Fynn Page were moved up to alternate on the third line. It was a quiet start to the second period and the first real chance came four minutes in when Owen was well positioned to save from Will Merchant. A couple of minutes later and a flashpoint as Ulett left his leg in on Lucas Chiodo and Fynn Page took exception to this and engaged with the Storm player in a fight. The outcome was a powerplay for Flyers with Ulett getting a Clipping and Cross Checking penalty to go with his fighting major whilst Page got the instigator and headed to the room for repairs to a facial cut and he too was later confirmed as not returning to the game. The Flyers man advantage produced little but with the teams back at full strength Kyle Osterberg had a chance to jam the puck home. Storm went on the powerplay next but apart from one solid save from Owen the Flyers penalty killers did a good job at keeping everything to the outside. Flyers were well in the game at this point and Weninger was called upon to make three smart saves within a 45 second spell but the visitors just couldn’t get anything to drop behind him. With a couple of minutes of the period left Shane Owen came up with his best save of the night when he was out aggressively to thwart the Storm forward who had a free shot from the high slot.
The third period again saw a quiet start with neither side able to get the upper hand and Weninger made the first save three minutes in from Osterberg. Two minutes later the Storm keeper let out a rebound but redeemed himself when he shutdown Collin Shirley at the side of the net. Tyler Hinam broke into the Flyers zone but was denied by Owen before Weninger made his best stop of the night to deny Johan Eriksson. The period saw both sides trade a lot of one and done rushes as neither side could get a cycle going in the offensive zone. With seven minutes remaining Flyers had their fourth man advantage of the night and although they created a few chances there was nothing in the high quality areas to seriously trouble the Storm goalie. With time ticking down Owen was pulled but the Flyers couldn’t get set up and almost gave up an empty net goal with Jonas Emmerdahl forced to take a penalty. Fife killed the Storm powerplay and with under a minute left they pulled Owen again but the Storm held out for their first shutout of the season.
The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 29th October when they entertain the Sheffield Steelers – tickets can be bought online here: Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.