Match Report – Saturday 25th November 2023

The Flyers were looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat handed to them in Altrincham last month by the Storm in this the first visit to Kirkcaldy by Manchester this season. Flyers scratched Fynn Page, Reece Harsch and Casey Gilling while the Storm were missing Dallas Ehrhardt and Santeri Haarala from the roster that iced the previous night in Dundee and taking their places were Callum Fryer and Johnny Corneil respectively.

The game started at a cracking pace with both teams having rushes up ice in the opening few seconds. Troy Lajeunesse gave Evan Weninger his first test 60 seconds in when the visiting keeper made a nice save on a one timer. In the third minute the Storm went on the night’s first powerplay and Joe Morrow tested Shane Owen with a huge blast but halfway through the Storm were called for an infringement as the teams went 4 on 4 before the Flyers had a minute of their own powerplay but defence’s on both sides were on top at this stage. Lucas Chiodo almost broke the deadlock in the 6th minute as he lifted the puck over the net with Weninger sprawling. Tyler Hinam tested Owen who did well to shoulder his strong shot wide. With under three minutes of the period remaining the visitors got the vital opening goal when the Flyers were caught with an odd man breakout and Johnny Corneil found Kirkcaldy born Michael Korol who finished well.

The opening few minutes of the second period belonged to the Storm whose strong forecheck kept the Flyers penned in their own end for long periods but crucially Owen wasn’t called upon to make any difficult saves. Three minutes into the period and the Flyers were on level terms with a stunning goal. Teemu Pulkkinen dived full length approaching the Storm blueline to chip the puck over to the on rushing Collin Shirley who beat Weninger with a shot bar down on the Storm netminders glove side. Moment later however the building fell silent as Kyle Osterberg crashed heavily into the end boards. He lay on the ice for a time before skating off under his own power but he did not return to the game. The Flyers were now in control of the game at this point and in the 25th minute Brady Pouteau joined in the attack and he was denied by a fine blocker save by Weninger. The Flyers went on their second powerplay in the 29th minute and after controlling the puck in the Storm end Johan Eriksson slipped a nice pass through to Pulkkinen and his quick release along the ice beat Weninger. Fife kept pressing and in the 34th minute Chiodo tipped the puck in the slot and Weninger had to be at full stretch to get his pad on it. A minute later and Troy Lajeunesse tried a wraparound and was only a fraction away from sliding the puck into the net with the Storm goalie well out of position. Flyers had another man advantage late in the period and they came close on a number of occasions to increasing their lead with efforts from Lajeunesse, Pulkkinen and Ben Hawerchuk all bringing the best out of Weninger.

A minute into the third period and the Storm went on the powerplay and Owen had to be alert on a couple of occasions to preserve the lead for the home side. In the 47th minute Owen was again in action when an almighty scramble around his net forced him into making three saves in quick succession. The Storm were now controlling the flow of the game and went on another powerplay in the 48th minute but a solid kill by the Flyers kept everything to the outside although Owen had to be strong as Johnny Corneil drove the net in the final seconds before Fife returned to full strength. Flyers had few chances in the period and the closest they came to extending their lead was in the 52nd minute when Pulkkinen ripped the puck off the pipe. A minute later Flyers were on the powerplay again but struggled to contain an aggressive Storm forecheck and this enabled Loren Ulet to break in on Owen but he couldn’t finish shorthanded. Storm kept pressing when they returned to full strength and had the Flyers pinned in their own end with Owen remaining sharp and able to cover the puck up on a number of occasions as the Storm swarmed around his net. With just under two minutes to go the Storm pulled Weninger for the extra skater and Flyers were forced to ice the puck a couple of times with Pulkkinen going close to hitting the empty net from just inside his own bluelines. The clock wound down and with 15 seconds remaining the Storm called a timeout with a face off in the Flyers end, Lajeunesse won the draw and the puck was protected along the boards to allow time to expire.

The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 2nd December 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.