Match Report – Tuesday 26th December 2023

Fife Flyers were meeting the Dundee Stars at home for the second time this season in the league. Making his first ever competitive start for the Flyers was Andy Little replacing the injured Shane Owen in nets. There was a nice touch by the rest of the Flyers players allowing Andy to have a solo lap skate as the teams came out for the warm ups. Also missing for Fife were Collin Shirley and Stephen Desrocher who were both still out with injury.  The Stars were without Kris Inglis and Jake Elmer.

The first save of the night came from Andy Little after three minutes when he kicked out his right pad and a few minutes later he was again alert when he made a double save from efforts by Chris McKay. The Stars were the more dominant side in the early going in terms of attacking and creating chances and in particular the Stars top line were controlling play in the Flyers defensive zone but throughout Little was looking confident in nets. If Little wasn’t making the stops then the Flyers defenceman were doing a good job at fronting the puck and putting their bodies in the way and Aleksi Mäkelä made a huge diving block. The Flyers first real test of Kevin Carr came in the 10th minute and it was Mäkelä at the other end this time that thundered in a shot that caught the shoulder of the Dundee goalie. The homeside made the breakthrough in the 13th minute and it was Kyle Osterberg in a move reminiscent to the one he pulled off in the last home game against the Giants who went down the left wing and let a shot go that found a hole on Carr. A minute later and Johan Eriksson slipped the puck across to Osterberg but he was in too tight on the Dundee goal and Carr was able to make a block. The Stars almost leveled the game when Brendan Harms tipped the puck and it grazed Little’s far post. With 90 seconds of the period remaining the Stars broke 2 on 1 but Little stood tall to deny Ryan Valentini.

Into the second period and within the opening minute the Flyers threatened as Carr was able to gather an Eriksson one timer at the second attempt. Moments later however and the visitors were on terms as Carter Johnson skated onto a puck at the blueline with appeals for the play being offside and he skated through the defence to go forehand then backhand to pick a spot past Little. The Flyers responded with a Lucas Chiodo shot that almost snuck under the arm of Carr. Spencer Naas brought out a solid save by Little in the 25th minute. The Flyers then had a great spell of pressure over the next five minutes or so in the game when they cycled the puck and enjoyed significant zone time in the Dundee end of the ice but just couldn’t find a finish. Then a sucker punch for the homeside as against the run of play the Stars went ahead when Valentini picked the top corner over Little’s glove. In the 33rd minute the Stars fashioned a 3 on 1 but Naas elected to shoot and Little made a good save without giving up a rebound. At this point the Flyers called a time out to help break the momentum of the game. On the restart and with a just over five minutes remaining Stars San Allen was assessed a major penalty for checking from behind as he drilled Osterberg into the boards. The Flyers quickly got shots on Carr in the Dundee net with the man advantage with Troy Lajeunesse and Chiodo testing him. The first half of the five minute advantage saw Fife control play but as time wore on the Dundee penalty kill got stronger and stronger and the visitors were able to see out the period with their one goal advantage intact.

The third period was four minutes old when an Osterberg redirect brought a fine save from Carr but a couple of minutes later a decisive third goal for the Stars when they won an offensive zone face off and the draw went back to Anthony Rinaldi who snapped the puck from the tops of the circles past Little. A couple of minutes later however the Flyers got a lifeline when Max Humitz put the puck on net and it beat Carr at his near post glove side to set up the final ten minutes of play. The Flyers were called on their only infraction of the night soon after and were a handful of seconds away from successfully killing the penalty when Brent Beaudoin fired a shot from the hash marks that beat Little on the short side glove. The Flyers pushed, the Stars contained and with a couple of minutes to go Little was pulled for the extra attacker but Fife were unable to get any quality chances set up to narrow the deficit.

The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 31st December when they entertain the Glasgow Clan – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.