Match Report – Saturday 27th January 2024

Fife Flyers travelled to meet the Stars looking to avenge the heavy defeat they suffered on their last visit to Tayside a month ago but more importantly to secure a couple of points that would haul them a little bit closer to the play off positions. The Flyers welcomed the return of two from the injured list with Shane Owen starting his first game in over a month and Captain Jonas Emmerdahl back on the blueline. Stephen Desrocher and Fynn Page were still missing and Kevin Lindskoug was a scratch as was Max Humitz who missed his first game of the season. For the Stars they were at full strength with their scratched player being enforced upon them as Sean Allen sat out the second of his two game suspension.

Shane Owen was quickly into the action as he faced the first shot of the game inside 30 seconds when Brendan Harms fired one on net. In the 2nd minute Kevin Carr had to improvise after leaving his net to play the puck on a hard around and he scrambled back out front of his net to make a block as Casey Gilling from the half boards put the puck on net. In the 4th minute the Stars had a 3 on 1 following Sean Giles being left on the ice in the Dundee defensive zone and Ryan Valentini hit the outside of the post before play was stopped. Giles needed attention from the Fife physio and after discussions between the officials Harms was assessed a 5 minute major for boarding. With the man advantage the Flyers generated most of their chances early on with a Teemu Pulkkinen tip smartly blocked by Carr. Gilling was next to threaten the Dundee net close in and an Aleksi Mäkelä drive from distance was well dealt with by Carr as the Stars successfully killed the penalty. In the 10th minute some sustained pressure by the Stars resulted in Owen making a couple of solid saves in quick succession. The Stars went on their first powerplay in the 13th minute and both Kyle Pouncy and Brent Beaudion had shots at Owen as the Flyers also killed the man advantage. Lucas Chiodo was denied twice in a matter of seconds by Carr and as the period looked to be ending goalless the Stars struck with just 24 seconds remaining. Jake Elmer going down the right wing threw the puck towards the net and Beaudion got a touch on it from a tight angle and the puck crept in between Owen’s pad and the near post for the opening goal.

The Flyers generated the first chance of the second period in the opening minute when Troy Lajeunesse and Kyle Osterberg transitioned the puck quickly with the latter firing just wide of the net. In the 26th minute Osterberg showed the Stars defence a clean pair of heals and went in on net but Carr tracked him to make a fine pad save. A minute later and Spencer Naas batted the puck out of mid air in front of Owen but it went just wide of goal. Shortly after the Flyers went back on the powerplay and in the opening few seconds they had a couple of chances that were well blocked by the Stars defencemen. Lucas Chiodo and Gilling were next to threaten with strong shots that Carr dealt with. Having controlled the puck throughout the Flyers eventually made their momentum pay with a well worked move that saw the puck passed around the box before finding Collin Shirley in the bumper position and he went high on Carr from the slot to level the contest.  Stars retaliated and Owen was well positioned at the top of his crease in the 31st minute to hold a shot from Valentini.  Stars soon after were on their second powerplay of the night but failed to get a shot on Owen as the Flyers comfortably killed the penalty. In the 37th minute some slack play in the neutral zone gave the Stars the puck and they worked their way into the zone with Owen having to make a strong pad save. A minute later and Owen was again alert when he got across his net to stop an Anthony Rinaldi wraparound attempt. In the final minute Gilling had a great chance when his first shot was blocked and he followed up on his own rebound but he got too much air on the puck as it flew over the net.

The Stars went back into the lead in the 2nd minute of the final period when they missed on a great cross crease pass but recycled the puck and when it found Josh Brittain he swept it low into the net. A couple of minutes later and Jake Elmer had a mazy skate into the Flyers zone and his shot from the circles was padded away by Owen. The Stars were on the powerplay again in the 46th minute and this time they got some action around the Flyers goal. After a couple of good blocks by the Flyers Valentini took the puck through on a solo dash and Owen had to be at full stretch to keep the Stars top scorer out. The Flyers almost snatched an equaliser in the 52nd minute when the puck was bouncing around the Stars net with Carr unable to find it but no Flyers stick could make a connection. The visitors however were level again with six minutes to go when the Flyers cycled the puck in the Stars zone and when it went back to Osterberg at the bluelines his slapshot flew past an unsighted Carr in the Stars net. In the 56th minute Shirley skated the puck around the back of the net and came out front to get a shot away which Carr spilled and it lay agonizingly in the crease before being swiped away. With 90 seconds remaining Chris McKay carried the puck into the Flyers zone and from the high slot let a high rising shot go that Owen did well to flop on and freeze.

Into overtime we went and with Stars having the majority of the early possession the game was settled with a goal after just 46 seconds when Valentini let a shot rip that hit the plexiglass and rebounded back out to the side of the goal where it bounced off Dow and trundled into the net with Owen spun around. The referees took almost five minutes to review the play to ensure that there was no distinct kicking motion and the call of good goal on the ice was upheld to give the Stars the extra point.

The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 28th January 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.