Match Report – Sunday 4th February 2024

The Storm and Flyers were back in action against each other less than 24 hours after their meeting in Altrincham which went the way of the home side after overtime. Flyers added Brodie Kay and James Spence to their bench which meant Stephen Desrocher and Casey Gilling were both scratched along with Shane Owen with Dominik Salama making his home debut. The Storm gave a debut to Raymond Brice with Johnny Corniel dropping out from the previous night.

The opening five minutes of the game saw both sides take turns on rushing the puck down the ice and although both goalies had saves to make there were no real scares for either team. The Storm were called for the first infraction of the night and it was to prove to be a persistent occurrence for the visitors number 14 Loren Ulett. Collin Shirley had the first chance with the man advantage when he snapped a shot at Evan Weninger who made a good glove save. The Flyers couldn’t quite get anything else set up and the Storm returned to full strength but within a minute the Flyers struck for the opening goal of the night. Kyle Osterberg gathered the puck on the right wing and when he saucered a pass over to Johan Eriksson in the slot he one timed it glove side just above the pad to beat the Storm netminder. The crowd had barely time to settle back into their seats when 18 seconds later the same player doubled the Flyers lead. This time Lucas Chiodo was the architect in the corner as he danced his way clear of his marker and his lovely pass cross crease was knocked home by Eriksson. Storm needed a foot hold in the game and they went on their first powerplay in the 10th minute but the Flyers penalty kill was strong, in particular a huge shot block by Aleksi Mäkelä and the two minutes came and went without any further grade A chances with Dominik Salama dealing comfortably with a couple of long range shots. The Flyers had a let off in the 14th minute when Cam Critchlow got his stick on a cross ice pass and his tip just in front of Salama brushed the crossbar but stayed out. The Flyers struck again with a typically clinical one time strike from Troy Lajeunesse from an Osterberg pass which flew into the net high glove on Weninger. The Storm desperately needed a way back into the game and were on the powerplay again within a minute but once more the penalty kill from Fife was solid and it was a fairly comfortable kill with just a couple of shots from distance for Salama to deal with as the Flyers went to the room with a healthy lead.

Storm looked re-energized at the start of the second period and they swarmed around the Fife goal. Salama saw a shot squeak through his arm but trickle wide of the far post then Raymond Brice wired one off the mask of the Fife goalie before Dallas Ehrhardt walked in off the blueline and crashed a shot off the crossbar. Having survived the early onslaught the Flyers were back on the powerplay again following another Ulett penalty. The Storm almost got a short handed goal as Tyler Hinam was denied by a very alert Salama but the Flyers increased their lead on the man advantage when Teemu Pulkkinen pivoted with the puck in the slot and his pass set up Eriksson with a wide open net to hit for his hat trick goal. Ulett exited the box and was immediately returned for an unsportsmanlike penalty.  The Flyers powerplay continued to look dangerous and they came close to adding another goal when Lajeunesse rattled the post with a shot. With 30 seconds remaining the Flyers were penalised and the teams played 4 on 4 before Storm went on a powerplay and the ex-Flyers returnee Zack Phillips at the top of the slot was stoned by Salama.  The Flyers almost got one short handed as Pulkkinen saw Weninger just get a piece of his shot to deflect it wide. With the teams skating at even strength Osterberg and Lajeunesse had a 2 on 1 break and the former sailed the puck over the crossbar.  The Storm went on the powerplay again in the 34th minute and this time they took full advantage when Joe Morrow made a great keep in at the blueline and fed the puck to Critchlow who took the puck to the net and beat Salama five hole. A minute later and the Storm were penalized with Ulett making his fourth trip to the box. A Lajeunesse shot was spilled by Weninger and Shirley almost found the net from the loose puck but Weninger was able to recover and smother. The puck movement from the Flyers with the man advantage was very good and following a flowing passage of play Lajeunesse was presented with a chance but he shot wide with the goalie out of position.

The third period was less than two minutes old when for a fifth time Ulett was invited to spend two minutes or less in the box. A Vitalijs Pavlovs redirect almost found the net but Storm hadn’t given up and Michael Korol was denied a shorthanded counter by a Salama pad save. Back at even strength the Storm again threatened and a loose pass in their own zone gifted the puck to Stephen Johnson but Salama bailed out his team mates with a fantastic pad save. The Flyers were content to hit on the counter and in the 53rd minute on an odd man rush saw Lajeunesse force a stick save by Weninger. Moments later the Flyers had their final powerplay of the night and they came close when Chiodo fired a shot from the right side of the net from an angle that just missed the far post before Lajeunesse whiffed on the puck with a wide open net. The final five minutes were played out without any further troubles for either goalie as the Flyers racked up a much needed win.

The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 10th February 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.