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Match Report – Sunday 28th January 2024

The Flyers entertained the Devils for the second time this season and with a healthier roster than of late were able to switch things around a bit. Stephen Desrocher and Fynn Page were still sidelined and Kevin Lindskoug along with Max Humitz returned to the lineup with Shane Owen and Vitalijs Pavlovs dropping out from the game the previous night at Dundee. The Devils fresh from their shutout win against the Guildford Flames retained Ben Bowns as starter with Trevor Cox missing out and Sam Duggan returning.

The Devils had the first chance of the game when Cole Sanford fired the puck off the bar with just over 60 seconds on the clock. The visitors had made a good start to this one and had the Flyers contained in their own zone for spells with lots of down low pressure but Kevin Lindskoug dealt well with the chances that were created around his crease. The Flyers first real foray into the Devils zone in the 4th minute saw Max Humitz with a couple of shots which Ben Bowns blockered away. The home side got on the scoreboard first when in the 6th minute a lovely passage of passing ended with Kevin Wehrs rifling the puck rink wide to Collin Shirley and his one timer beat Bowns who couldn’t get back across his goal in time. Cardiff continued to apply pressure on the Fife defence in the next couple of shifts and the Flyers did well to keep them at bay. In the 10th minute following a broken play at the Flyers blueline when a puck hit a Devils player in the face Kyle Osterberg hit a streaking Troy Lajeunesse with a heads up pass and he buried it five hole on Bowns with a snapshot before the keeper could get set. The Devils called a time out at this point. Osterberg worked his way through the Devils defence in the 13th minute but was eventually crowded out as he went to the net. The Devils were called on the games first penalty in the 17th minute and the Flyers went on the powerplay. Almost immediately Lajeunesse unleashed a rocket of a one timer that flew just past the Devils net but the puck was recovered and this time when it was worked back over to him he steadied himself and from the circles he picked his spot inside the post on the stick side of Bowns to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead. Within a minute however the Devils had reduced the arrears when Lindskoug failed to hold a shot and it popped back out of his glove to allow Ryan Barrow to knock it into the net.

Two minutes into the second period Humitz was sprung through the middle but Bowns was able to make a blocker save and moments later the Devils struck for their second goal. Justin Crandall was given too much time to walk in from the blueline and his shot found a way through bodies and underneath the pad of Lindskoug to make it a one goal game.  In the 25th minute Lucas Chiodo and Casey Gilling combined with the puck being worked out from behind the net and Bowns had to be alert to stop the former from doubling the home lead. A minute later and Bowns spilled the puck following a hard shot from Shirley and Teemu Pulkkinen could not quite get enough on it to find the net. The Devils almost leveled the game in the 27th minute when Jamie Arniel stickhandled through the Fife defence but he slipped the puck wide of target. Shirley and Pulkkinen broke on a partial 2 on 1 and were not far away before the Devils quickly broke in the other direction and Brandon Alderson saw his effort swallowed by Lindskoug. In the 33rd minute Johan Eriksson and Chiodo broke and with the pass on Eriksson elected to take the shot but Bowns was well positioned to make the save. The Devils got their first powerplay chance with three minutes remaining in the period and other than a pad save from Lindskoug on Arniel the Flyers made a comfortable kill. The Devils took another penalty with just three seconds left in the period.

Starting the third period on the powerplay it felt like this would be a crucial point in the game and the only real chance created was an Osterberg shot that Bowns blocked away. Within 30 seconds of returning to full strength the Devils had the game all tied up when Crawford feathered a lovely pass from the right wing to Josh Waller who got a stick on it to tip it past Lindskoug. The momentum for the next few minutes clearly shifted and the Devils were rewarded less than three minute later when they took the lead. Crandall picked the puck up at the side of the net and his shot found a gap between the post and the goalies pads. With their tails up the Devils went looking for more and in the 49thn minute Tyler Busch received a pass as he streaked through the centre but from the slot he ripped a shot high over the net. The Flyers eventually got a hold of the game again and started to press with a typical Lajeunesse one timer keeping Bown in his toes and he knew very little about an Osterberg shot that hit him in the mask. The Devils were shot blocking well and twice they stepped in front of shots from Aleksi Mäkelä. With four minutes to go the Flyers went back on the powerplay. Despite having a decent amount of possession in the Devils zone the visitors penalty kill did an excellent job at preventing any grade A chances for the Flyers as the clock wound down into the final two minutes. With just over a minute to go the Flyers pulled Lindskoug for the extra skater and the Devils made a desperate clearance and the puck rolled down the ice and into the empty net. The goal was washed out with the referee deeming that the puck had hit the glove of the Cardiff player as he propelled it down the ice. Fife called a timeout with 44 seconds remaining but try as they might the Devils made another couple strong blocks and clung on for their come from behind win.

The Flyers are next at home on Sunday 4th February when they entertain the Manchester Storm – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.

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