Match Report – Sunday 3rd December 2023

This was the Flyers second trip to the Spectrum this season with their last outing ending in a 5-2 defeat. It was the first of three meetings with the Flames over the next 10 days with the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup taking place the next two midweeks. Flyers were along the similar lines to their defeat the night before against Coventry with Johan and Anthon Eriksson, Kyle Osterberg, Fynn Page and Ben Hawerchuk all missing along with Brodie Kay. This was the Flames only game of the weekend and they scratched Taz Burnam and Alex Yuill.

The Flames had the first chance of the game when Shane Owen did well to blocker away a shot from Brett Ferguson after only 40 seconds. Fife went straight down the ice though and Teemu Pulkkinen had a half chance but couldn’t trouble Eamon McAdam. Lewis Hook was next to threaten the Fife goal and Owen again pulled out a great save as he got his pad on the shot and the puck lay in the crease before being cleared with the Flyers called for a minor penalty on the play. The Flames with the man advantage had efforts from Ryan Tait and Bradley Lalonde well saved by Owen before the penalty expired. Moments later Lucas Chiodo and Troy Lajeunesse had a 2 on 1 break but the pass over to Chiodo was thwarted by a sprawling Kyle Locke to take away the chance. From the resultant face off Chiodo had a quick snapshot saved by the pads of McAdam as the net was dislodged. Hook had another attempt on Owen from close in but was denied and then the best chance of the game so far in the 11th minute when Max Humitz stole the puck in the Flames zone, he fed Pulkkinen who had all sorts of time in front of McAdam who was out of position but the Fife forward somehow slid the puck wide of the net. A minute later and Chiodo darted in but from close range but lifted the puck over the net. Flames went back on the powerplay and this time made it count but not before Owen had produced a huge kick save on Austin Glover. The next shift however Brett Ferguson found himself with plenty of time and space to walk in from the side of Owen’s net and his shot deflected off the handle of the Fife netminders stick and spun up into the top corner. In the 18th minute Peter Crinella danced through on a fine sole effort but Owen again stood tall as he did in the final seconds when he prevented Sam Talbot from doubling the Flames lead.

Flames created the first chance in the second period after two minutes when Tait tried a backhand but Owen got his arm up to block. A minute later and a James Spence shot created a rebound and Jonas Emmerdahl was just unable to poke the puck home. It started a two minute spell for Fife where they created chance after chance after chance. Brady Pouteau and Troy Lajeunesse had the best of them with McAdam looking strong in net but it was a period of play that the home side did very well to survive. In the 25th minute another guilt edged chance came the way of the visitors when a Flames giveaway landed at the stick of Chiodo who was all alone in front of McAdam, he tried a move but the Flames keeper slid over to make the stop. Flames went back on the man advantage in the 28th minute but the best chance came when Lajeunesse set up Collin Shirley who had his shorthanded bid blocked. Flyers had their first powerplay in the 31st minute and again the shorthanded side had the best chance when Tait on a 2 on 1 forced Owen into a smart glove save. The next powerplay went the way of the Flyers and Lajeunesse nearly connected with Casey Gilling who would have had a tap into an empty net. A Shirley wrister was then denied by McAdam who came way out of his crease to block the shot with his shoulder. A minute later and Shirley went closer still when he rang the bar with his shot. In the final minute of the period Tait forced a strong kick save from Owen but the Flames went on another powerplay and there was a real sucker punch for the Flyers as Ferguson scored his second on a pass from Matt Alvaro which forced Owen to push across goal from his right to left and the puck squeaked into the net.

It was a tentative start to the third period by both sides but in the 45th minute Owen produced an amazing sprawling save to deny Crinella who could only smile. Fife went on the powerplay in the 49th minute but midway through were called for too many men. When the Flames returned to full strength Crinella almost added another powerplay marker when he pinged the crossbar. Back at full strength Chiodo tested McAdam who made the block. In the 53rd minute some strong play to protect the puck by Shirley allowed him to walk out in front of the net but McAdam was again well positioned to save. A minute later and the Flyers lost Brady Pouteau who crashed heavily into the boards and after a while on the ice left holding his arm. Earlier in the game Jonas Emmerdahl was also forced to sit out with an injury. With five minutes to go both Turner Ripplinger and Tait had chances stopped by Owen. Fife called a timeout in the 56th minute and a minute later Owen shutdown another Tait effort who was looking to go five hole. With a little under two minutes remaining the Flyers pulled Owen and buzzed around McAdam’s net but without getting any clear cut chances and eventually time ran out on them.

The Flyers are next at home on Wednesday 6th December when they entertain the Guildford Flames – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.