Match Report – Sunday 14th January 2024

The Flyers were making their final visit of the regular season to the Skydome and were looking to keep their good fortune going this season in the Midlands where they had already chalked up two road victories. The visitors added James Spence to the line up from the previous night and were still without Shane Owen, Stephen Desrocher, Jonas Emmerdahl, Brodie Kay and Fynn Page. Collin Shirley once again deputised as the Captain. Coventry Blaze were rested having not had a game the previous night and they chose Taran Kozun as their starter and scratched Nolan Kent, Aidan Spellacy and, Archie Hazeldine.

There was a good pace to the start of the game but neither goalie saw any rubber until Kevin Lindskoug was called into action when he held a shot from the top of the slot by Kobe Roth with almost four and a half minutes on the clock. The Flyers got the opening goal a little over 5 minutes in following good puck retrieval in the Blaze zone and a nice passing move involving Lucas Chiodo and Collin Shirley who fed the puck across to Johan Eriksson on top of the crease and he buried it past Kozun. From the restart Lindskoug had to make a snappy glove save as the Blaze went straight down the ice. In the 7th minute following some good down low pressure by the Flyers they were able to move the puck around again and the move ended with a long range drive from Kevin Wehrs which was swallowed by Kozun. A minute later and Lindskoug was similarly tested from distance as he held a shot from the blueline by Carter Allen. The Blaze went on the first powerplay of the game in the 11th minute and the Flyers managed to kill it off without too many worrying moments around their net. Back at even strength Johnny Curran saw a close in tip blocked away by Lindskoug as the Blaze started to ramp up the pressure. Lindskoug was able to glove the puck with a sea of humanity around his crease before Blaze went on another man advantage with four minutes of the period remaining. The Flyers were called for too many men and Kevin Wehrs also picked up a 10 minute misconduct penalty. Lindskoug made a good reactionary save on Kim Tallberg before the Flyers survived a series of scrambles around the net but they did escape the penalty with their lead intact. Blaze were called for a penalty with 90 seconds of the period to go and the Flyers controlled the puck on the delayed call as they went 6 on 5 and Kozun came up with a tremendous save before eventually the play was stopped with just 15 seconds remaining. Not enough time for the Flyers to get anything going on the powerplay and they looked to start on a fresh sheet of ice to make that pay.

The Flyers got a couple of looks at Kozun to start the second period on the powerplay but nothing that troubled him greatly. Within a minute of returning to full strength the Blaze gave up a second goal as the puck was fed out in front of the goal by Johan Eriksson and somehow through a maze of Blaze legs it found the stick of Chiodo who gave Kozun no chance from the top of his crease. Two minutes later and the visitors extended their lead to three goals when a bobbling puck was redirected by Vitalijs Pavlovs and then tipped by Chiodo which deceived Kozun. Flyers had their tails up and Troy Lajeunesse was set up for a one timer with Kozun out of position but his effort hit a body in front of net and spun wide of the post. A minute later however the Blaze got themselves on the board following a good cycle in the Flyers end and a pass by David Clements left Kobe Roth with an easy task to find the gaping net. Blaze were turning the screw now and after a period of prolonged pressure in the Flyers end a Danny Kristo shot was shut down by Lindskoug. The Flyers went back on the powerplay in the 31st minute looking to regain their three goal lead and their best chance came on a Lajeunesse one timer but the Flyers marksmen didn’t get a clean connection when he had net to aim at and the puck flew wide. The Blaze pulled another one back in the 36th minute when Brady Norrish was able to pick his spot from the high slot after an almighty scramble around the net and the Flyers were unable to clear the puck out of their zone. A minute later and Blaze were on the powerplay which they converted on as JD Dudek skated in from the blueline to the circles and his quick wrister found a way past Lindskoug.  Thirty seconds after the restart the Blaze had another man advantage and Lindskoug made a great kick save on Tallberg but on their next rush Dudek was denied by a strong blocker save and from the scramble Dudek was fed the puck again and he thought he had scored as Lindskoug tried to go post to post but his shot clearly struck the bar and bounced down without crossing the line before being scrambled clear. The Flyers killed the penalty but were under pressure until the period buzzer which prompted the refs to go review the Dudek chance. They didn’t appear to have a video replay available to them and returned to the ice to signal no goal as both teams skated off with Coventry still adamant that they had scored.

The Blaze were first to threaten in the third period when Carter Allen tested Lindskoug from distance who held on well. The Flyers were back in front in the 45th minute when Giles and Osterberg made a nice passing move and the former made a great cross ice pass to Lajeunesse who swept the puck home. The next minute and David Clements had a hard shot saved by the shoulder of Lindskoug. Flyers couldn’t hold their lead for long and a little over three minutes after taking the lead they were back on terms as the Blaze captain Brady Norrish came down the right wing and placed a shot above the pad and below the blocker into the corner of the net. In the 51st minute Dudek cut inside and unleashed a fierce shot which was well held by Lindskoug. On the next shift Dudek again brough a fine save from the Flyers keeper as he held the Blaze forwards shot in his glove. Blaze had all of the pressure but the Flyers were defending resolutely and were happy on many occasions simply to clear their own zone and take the icings. With four minutes remaining there was a sniff of a chance for Chiodo who was just inches wide of the post after he picked up a rebound close in from Kozun. The Flyers kept the Blaze at bay to force overtime with a point secured.

Inside the first minute of bonus hockey the Blaze claimed the extra point as Norrish danced his way to the net and his attempt to go short side saw the puck trickle over the goal line.

The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 20th January 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.