Match Report – Sunday 31st December 2023

The Fife Flyers and Glasgow Clan faced off for the second time this season in the league at Kirkcaldy in this Hogmanay clash less than 24 hours after the Clan had won in Glasgow against their hosts. The Clan roster saw two changes from the previous night with Jordan Cownie and Alex Roach both missing whilst the Flyers saw the addition of Drake Pilon making his debut after his luggage was eventually retrieved at Edinburgh airport earlier that day.

The first serious shot of the game came in the 2nd minute when Cody Sol let one go from the bluelines but Andy Little got a piece of it to deflect it high into the netting. In the 4th minute Little was again in action this time making a glove save on Dyson Stevenson. The Flyers called Jake Kielly into action in the 5th minute when he made a huge save to stop Teemu Pulkkinen and moments later a giveaway in the Flyers end ended up on the stick of Luke Lynch who gave Little no chance as the Clan went in front. 21 seconds later the sides were level when the Flyers took advantage of some slack puck management in the visitors end of the ice and Lucas Chiodo picked up the puck and outwaited Kielly before roofing the puck. Little then made a huge glove save to deny Bryce Reddick but less than a minute later and the Clan were back in front as Reid Petryk mis controlled the puck in the slot but it broke kindly for Charlie Combs following up and he buried it behind Little. The Flyers went on the games first powerplay in the 7th minute and Kielly had to deal with a Kyle Osterberg effort and a Troy Lajeunesse drive as the Flyers came close to grabbing the equaliser. The leveler did arrive with the man advantage as Osterberg set up Lajeunesse for a one timer low past the Clan goalie. A couple of minutes later and the home crowd were in raptures as the Flyers took the lead. A shot from the blueline by Sean Giles struck a post but Osterberg was first to react to net.  Jonas Emmerdahl put one into the glove of Kielly in the 12th minute and the Clan keeper made a great double save in the next minute when he denied both Max Humitz and Pulkkinen. In the 15th minute Reece Kelly fed Sol the puck but with the net gaping the big blueliner could not control the puck. Lucas Chiodo cut inside in the 16th minute and his lay up to the edge of the crease found Johan Eriksson but somehow Kielly got his pad down to keep the puck out. With the clock ticking down the Flyers scored a crucial 4th goal when Jonas Emmerdahl collected the puck in the high slot and his shot beat Kielly on the stick side.

The Clan changed netminders to start the second with Antti Karjalainen coming in for Kielly. He was quickly called into action in the 22nd minute when he made a good pad save from a Pulkkinen shot.  Clan responded with a Reece Kelly slapper sticked away by Little. In the 23rd minute a glorious chance for the Flyers as Osterberg set up Vitalijs Pavlovs but he sailed his shot over the bar. With the Clan starting to dominate possession on their cycle in the Flyers end Little did well to swallow the puck from a Darien Craighead effort to help relieve the pressure. Litte was able to fight off a Nate Kallen shot whilst at the other end Chiodo went just wide with a try before being tripped to put the Flyers back on the powerplay. After gaining control of the puck in the Clan zone the Flyers made the man advantage count and it was a fantastic piece of skill by Pulkkinen as he swatted a fluttering puck out of mid air and into the net. The Clan were next on the powerplay and Little had a big pad save from Matt Barry from distance before the Flyers killed it. With just over a couple of minutes left the Clan were again on the powerplay and again Little stood tall with a big save in Gary Haden and the Flyers again fought valiantly to kill it off. The Flyers would start the third period on the powerplay as Clan were called for an infraction with just 20 seconds to go in the period.

The Flyers made the visitors pay for their indiscretion when a pass across ice by Johan Eriksson was neatly redirected into the bottom corner of the net by Pulkkinen for his second of the night.  The Clan were not finished however and after a mix up behind their own net with the puck the Flyers were punished when Haden made a pass into the slot and Lynch buried it with Little having no chance.  The teams traded offsetting minor penalties in the 48th minute as tensions were running ever higher. Max Humitz broke clear in the 49th minute with a toe drag around the defender but Karjalainen was square to his shot. A minute later and Little shut down Lynch who was sniffing his hat trick. Petryk rang a post in the 52nd minute as the Clan kept pressing for the next goal. With a little under seven minutes remaining the Flyers were once again on the powerplay and again executed perfectly when Osterberg feathered the puck over to Lajeunesse and his one timer over powered Karjalainen to find the twine. Clan responded within seconds however as Matt Barry had time coming in from the high slot to pick the inside of the post on Little’s glove side to bring the Clan back within three goals. Another couple of offsetting penalties were called and with just under three minutes to play the Clan pulled their goalie for the extra skater. Pulkkinen made a brave diving block but with 90 seconds left the Clan once again got the gate as Barry prevented Humitz from hitting the empty net as he was breaking away. The Flyers ended the game with 30 seconds of a 5 on 3 man advantage as Clan were assessed another penalty but no further goals materialised.

The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 7th January when they entertain the Nottingham Panthers – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.