Match Report – Wednesday 13th December 2023

The Flyers made the long trek to Surrey to meet the Flames trailing by two goals from the first leg of this Challenge Cup quarter final tie that ended 3-1 in favour of the Guildford Flames last Wednesday night in Fife. The Fife bench was once again missing the injured trio of Fynn Page, Ben Hawerchuk and Jonas Emmerdahl with James Spence also not travelling and Johan Eriksson a late scratch before puck drop leaving the visitors with just 13 skaters. The Flames scratched Sam Talbot, Ryan Hughes and alternate non-homegrown goalie Taz Burman.

A cautious start from both teams and the first shot on goal came in the 2nd minute when Ryan Tait fired one off Owen’s arm. A couple of minutes later and Brett Ferguson took the puck around the back of the net and fed it out front to Peter Crinella who was denied by a huge left pad save by Shane Owen. The Flyers had a couple of chances in the 5th minute when both Casey Gilling then Stephen Desrocher had powerful slapshots turned aside by Eamon McAdam. The Flames were soon back on the attack and Patrick Bajkov tested Owen who produced a flashing right pad save. With Flames enjoying the majority of possession in the 10th minute Lucas Chiodo went up ice and snapped a shot off the shoulder of the Flames netminder. The only penalty of the period was called against the Flyers with four minutes remaining and the Flames made the breakthrough when Steven McParland picked his spot beating Owen on the stick side. With 90 seconds of the period remaining the Flames doubled their advantage to take a commanding 5-1 aggregate lead when Austin Glover made a play over to Tait who managed to flick the puck up into the top corner over the glove of Owen.

In the opening minute Bradley Lalonde had a drive blockered away by Owen. McAdam did well to hold a high blast by Vitalijs Pavlovs in the 25th minute. The Flyers came close again a few minutes later when McAdam showed fantastic reflexes to get a piece of a deflection by Pavlovs to keep the puck out of the net. Moments later and the Flames went on their second powerplay during which time Owen saved a Lalonde drive and shouldered away a Matt Alvaro attempt with the rebound falling to Crinella who missed the net far side. With exactly 33 minutes on the clock, after Owen had made a couple of instinctive saves, the Flames added a third goal with Austin Glover being credited with nudging the puck over the line. The Flyers went straight down the ice and Lucas Chiodo had a wraparound effort which McAdam stopped with his toe. A minute later however and Fife were on the board when Kyle Osterberg went down the left wing, fired a shot at McAdam and followed up on the rebound to score. Flames came close to adding another when Tait almost deflected the puck into the net with his upper body and Max Humitz responded with a tight angled shot that McAdam did well with. The Flyers had a powerplay opportunity late in the period and had some good possession in the opening 90 seconds as they moved the puck around looking for the chance they wanted but it never came. With Flames back at full strength Desrocher had a drive in the final seconds that hit McAdam square in the Flames logo.

Peter Crinella had the first chance of the final period when he walked in from the corner and tried to slip the puck wide of Owen who made a good leg save. Kyle Osterberg responded with a shot that McAdam swallowed up. An odd bounce from the end boards in the 47th minute favoured Fife as the puck fell nicely for Teemu Pulkkinen who teed it up but McAdam was well positioned for his shot. The Flyers went on the powerplay seconds later but could not get anything set up with the man advantage. With Flames back at full strength Sean Giles slipped the puck over to Pulkkinen who had the net gaping but whiffed on his shot and the chance was gone. Another powerplay for Fife in the 50th minute saw the visitors reduce the arrears on the night. Pavlovs won the offensive zone draw back to Giles who fed to Troy Lajeunnese for the one timer and the puck was directed into the net by Pavlovs after McAdam had dislodged the posts. The goal was reviewed but as the puck entered the centre of the goal it stood as the dislodged net had no influence on the goal being scored.  Immediately Flames had a chance when Crinella was denied by Owen who flashed the leather.  Flyers pushed for another goal and McAdam had to be strong to deny Pavlovs and Chiodo in quick succession.  With three minutes remaining McParland gained the Flyers zone and his strong shot was saved by Owen but the puck was too hot to handle and dropped into the crease where it was swept away to safety. Flyers called a time out with just over a minute to go and in an effort to tie the game on the night pulled Owen with around 30 seconds remaining but couldn’t get another look at McAdam in the home goal as the Flames progressed to the semi final with a 6-3 aggregate scoreline.

The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 17th December when they entertain the Cardiff Devils – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.