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Match Report – Saturday 9th December 2023

The Storm and Flyers both came into this match on losing streaks of six and four games respectively. The three injured scratches for Flyers were Fynn Page, Jonas Emmerdahl and Ben Hawerchuk as the visitors welcomed Johan Eriksson back into the lineup after missing the last three games. Teemu Pulkkinen stepped back onto the blueline to play in the five man rotation. The Storm scratched Santeri Haarala and Andreas Heier.

Storm started the game by pressing the Flyers deep into their end of the ice and Shane Owen was called upon to make a number of fairly routine saves in the opening minutes. In the 5th minute the Storm went on the game’s first powerplay but despite holding the puck in the Flyers end for pretty much all of the two minutes their best effort was a huge blast by Dallas Ehrhardt as the penalty was about to expire that found the logo of Owen’s jersey. Moments after returning to even strength the Flyers were again penalised and once again Storm enjoyed significant offensive zone time but the Flyers almost caught them on a breakaway when Kyle Osterberg broke up ice but his back hand effort didn’t trouble Evan Weninger. Osterberg had the Flyers first grade A attempt at goal in the 10th minute but the Storm goalie was alive to the situation and came out to make the block. The Flyers were now showing as an attacking threat and in the 13th minute they fashioned a neat passing play down ice that ended with Teemu Pulkkinen getting a good sight of the Storm goal but again Weninger was well positioned to make the stop. A third powerplay for Storm on a delay of game call eventually got the game’s first goal on the board. Ehrhardt playing a slap pass into the edge of the crease created the loose puck for Cam Critchlow to sweep into the net under the diving Owen.  The Flyers went on the powerplay with three minutes of the period remaining and Johan Eriksson had a huge blast turned away by Weninger but midway through the Flyers were penalised again to leave the teams playing 4 on 4. The Storm almost snatched another with a 2 on 1 break but CJ Garcia missed the net before the Storm went on a short powerplay which the Flyers comfortably killed.

Ten seconds into the second period and the Flyers went on the powerplay with a chance coming in a scramble around Weninger’s net with Sean Giles just unable to dig the puck in. With 40 seconds left on the man advantage the teams skated 4 on 4 after Fife were penalised. With the extra space on the ice the chances opened up for both teams and Johnny Corneil forced a strong pad save from Owen and directly after going the other way Troy Lajeunesse was stoned by Weninger when he was all alone in front of the Storm goalie. Storm’s short powerplay was then cut short as they were pulled up for too many men and the teams returned to 4 on 4. Owen made a smart pad save from Tremblay before the Flyers then had the man advantage for 50 seconds. Lajeunesse tried to go blocker on Weninger but narrowly missed the post, Anthon Eriksson then scooped the puck over and in a concerted effort around the net Giles shot straight into the breadbasket of Weninger before Storm returned to full strength.  Flyers were back on the powerplay in the 25th minute and for the first minute they moved the puck around sweetly and had a couple of shots blocked before the Storm comfortably saw out the rest of the kill. In the 29th minute the Storm doubled their lead when an Ehrhardt shot was tipped in the slot by Will Merchant giving Owen no chance. Storm were back on the powerplay in the 33rd minute and Owen was kept busy for the two minutes with his best save coming from a Joe Morrow shot when he went post to post. Owen then denied Corneil close in in the 36th minute but Storm would not be denied a third goal when Mitchell Martan put the puck on Owen who got his pad to the shot but the rebound fell to Critchlow going to the net to pick up the rebound and score.

The third period was a quiet and disjointed affair in the opening six minutes with both teams guilty of icing the puck and neither side could get any flow going. The first notable effort on goal came from Pulkkinen in the 47th minute but it was comfortable for Weninger.  Moments later and Merchant broke in 1 on 1 with Owen but the Fife keeper stood tall and shut the wickets to deny the Storm forward. It was almost a fourth for Storm but Sam Tremblay clanked the post. The chances kept coming for Storm and Ehrhardt was next to threaten when he was in on Owen but he couldn’t draw the puck past him. At the other end Casey Gilling brought a blocker save from Weninger. Storm were playing a conservative game and content to clog up the neutral zone and not take any chances and the Flyers offence made almost no headway. With just over six minutes of the game to go Tyler Hinam jumped onto a loose puck near the blueline and had all the time to skate in on Owen and plant his shot stick side to complete the scoring.

The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 10th December 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.

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