Match Report – Saturday 11th November 2023

The Fife Flyers traveled West looking to avenge the defeat inflicted upon them by the Clan in the first league meeting of the sides last weekend in Kirkcaldy. Flyers were also looking to end a six game winless streak. Flyers absentees were the injured Teemu Pulkkinen and the scratched Reece Harsch and Brodie Kay with Brady Pouteau coming back into the lineup. Clan were still without the injured Charlie Combs and Matt Barry.

The Flyers had the first shot of the game after 90 seconds when Troy Lajeunesse tested Antti Karjalainen and moments later the visitors went on the first powerplay of the night. Karjalainen denied Max Humitz with a stunning save and the Flyers, despite enjoying a lot of zone time and controlling possession, couldn’t make their man advantage count. They did however open the scoring in four minutes when Brady Pouteau was up supporting the rush and he buried a nice saucer pass from Humitz. It was a thoroughly deserved lead given the start made by the Flyers. A minute later Shane Owen had to look sharp to block a Cody Sol shot and from the ensuing scramble three players fell in a heap which left Philippe Sanche injured and unfortunately the Clan man had to be stretchered off the ice. The Clan were level with almost nine minutes on the clock when Nate Kallen was also up from his bluelines duties supporting a breakout and he got a nice touch on the puck to beat Owen on the stick side. The Clan then took over the rest of the period and after a sustained amount of time in the Flyers defensive zone they took the lead when a shot from Robert Lachowicz in the high slot found the corner of the net with perhaps a tip from Reid Petryk. The home side then went on their first powerplay of the game and although they had plenty of possession in the Fife end it looked as though the Flyers were about to escape unscathed but just as the penalty ended Jake Bolton unleashed a slapshot from up on the blueline and this time there was no mistake about Lachowicz getting the deflection to beat Owen. In a brief foray up ice Lucas Chiodo had a solo dash but his effort was gloved by the Clan netminder. With two minutes to go Clan had the puck in the net again but Gary Haden had clearly gloved the puck behind Owen and it was correctly washed out on review.

Both team enjoyed early shots in the middle period and the closest to adding to the scoreboard were Ben Hawerchuk and Anthon Eriksson but Karjalainen continued to look assured. Chiodo again carried the puck into the Clan zone and drew a penalty as he almost set up Max Humitz for a chance. The Flyers powerplay started badly and Owen had to pull of a great save to deny Cody Sol. Again the powerplay moved the puck around well but the Clan were keeping everything to the outside with a Lajeunesse drive, which was held by Karjalainen, being the best opening created. In the 27th minute Gary Haden fired wide after having a clear sight of goal and moments later he was called for goalie interference. It took the Flyers until the second half of their man advantage to get the puck set up and Collin Shirley was denied by a big save by the Clan netminder. Back to even strength before the Clan went on a powerplay and they were able to increase their lead when Jake Bolton let one fly from the blueline that found the top corner of the net. 13 seconds later however the Flyers were thrown a lifeline when Clan coughed the puck up in their own end and Shirley stepped into the puck to drive one stick side past Karjalainen. With four minutes left in the period a giveaway in the neutral zone resulted in Michael Pelech setting up Gary Haden to beat Owen who had very little chance to make the save. A roughing call on Lynch put the Flyers once again on the powerplay and the Clan once again almost scored shorthanded but a great glove save stopped Petryk after a steal of the puck by Lachowicz. The powerplay was cut short as Fife took a penalty and the Clan ended the period with the man advantage.

Fife killed 45 seconds of the remaining powerplay to start the third period with Dyson Stevenson just shooting narrowly wide. In the 44th minute Chiodo and Humitz fashioned a 2 on 1 chance but Zach Vinnell came up with a crucial block. A minute later and a huge open ice hit by Brady Pouteau saw the Fife man draw the attention of Harrison and Stevenson who were both binned for roughing. The two man advantage saw a number of chances created by Fife, Osterberg and Anthon Eriksson had the best with solid saves by Karjalainen and with time running down the Clan goalie was finally beaten when Humitz squeezed the puck into the net off the Finn from an acute angle. Flyers were soon back on the powerplay with another roughing call on Clan and in the first 60 seconds Glasgow came up with three huge blocks and another fine save by Karjalainen on an Emmerdahl shot. Anthon Eriksson and Osterberg had chances in the remainder of the penalty as the Clan hung on. Soon after returning to full strength however the Clan found themselves in a one goal game after a surging rush up ice by Lajeunesse whose shot rebounded into the path of Kyle Osterberg to sweep the puck home. It was game on again with six minutes to play. Clan steadied the ship and with two minutes remaining Jake Bolton probably should have sealed it but he blasted high over the net after getting a clear sight on Owen. The Flyers pulled Owen with 80 seconds left on the clock and Karjalainen again came up big with a save on Humitz. The visitors were not to be denied for their efforts in the third period however and after again controlling the puck in the Clan zone a fluttering shot from Sean Giles from just inside the blueline found the net with an apparent deflection off the stick of Humitz. The play was reviewed for a high stick but the goal was given and we headed to overtime.

The opening three minutes of 3 on 3 was completely dominated by the Flyers and Aleksi Mäkelä was absolutely robbed by his fellow countryman from close range. With 80 seconds to go Hawerchuk was called on a trip and the Clan had the chance to repeat their powerplay overtime win from last weekend in Fife. The Flyers penalty killers however did a fantastic job and Owen was solid on the couple of chances that Clan created and so we went to a shootout.

Craighead missed with Clan’s first and Johan Eriksson gave the Flyers the advantage as he beat Karjalainen glove side with a snap shot. Petryk scored almost a carbon copy goal to level for Clan before Troy Lajeunesse’s effort was saved. Owen then saved from Haden and Max Humitz missed. Bolton saw his effort saved by Owen and Shirley missed so we were now effectively at sudden death. Owen saved from Pelech and Karjalainen saved from Osterberg. The order of takers was reversed and Johan Eriksson stepped up again and this time scored with a fine back hand shot before Shane Owen denied Petryk to complete a gutsy comeback win to the delight of the travelling support.

The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 19th November when they entertain the Coventry Blaze – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.