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Match Report – Wednesday 14th February 2024

The Flyers travelled to Cardiff for their second visit of the season looking to keep their recent win streak alive. Making the start in net was Dominik Salama with the rest of the roster the same as the last game with Kyle Osterberg, Fynn Page, James Spence and Brodie Kay all scratches. The Devils stared Tyler Wall in net and they were without River Rymsha and Josh Waller.

It was a tentative start from both teams with lots of puck possession and careful passing. The first save of the game came in the 3rd minute as Josh Batch drove the net but Dominik Salama tracked him and shut things down. The Devils opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Jamie Arniel took the puck down the right wing and from the face off dot he let rip a wrister that picked the top corner over the stick and blocker of Salama. A minute later and the Devils almost increased their lead when Justin Crandall stepped into a one timer but Salama was well positioned and then he denied Ben Davies before the Devils went on the games first powerplay. Trevor Cox forced a stick save from Salama and Marcus Crawford had the best chance when he went end to end with the puck but his effort struck the outside of the post. The Flyers killed the penalty however and there followed a period of almost seven minutes of continuous play without a whistle. The Devils controlled the play during that time with Salama next making a save from Cody Donaghey. Evan Mosey was next to threaten in the 12th minute but Salama got a stick on his shot and the first whistle in a long while came in the 14th minute following a Flyers icing. The Flyers were finding it difficult to get any looks on Tyler Wall but he did make a save from Drake Pilon. In the 16th minute the visitors however had a great chance as Lucas Chiodo and Johan Eriksson broke two on one with Chiodo just putting the puck too far behind Eriksson who would have had an empty net as Wall was out of position. Cole Ully forced a save from Salama in the 18th minute and as the puck went loose it was scrambled clear. In the final minute of the period Chiodo carried the puck into the Devils zone and his quick shot was blockered away by Wall.

The Devils had the first chance of the second period after a nice three way passing move but Ryan Barrow’s shot flew just inches wide. In the 24th minute Bode Wilde skated right up the gut but his backhand effort was saved by Salama. Salama again looked sharp in the 26th minute with a kick save on Trevor Cox. The Flyers then went on the powerplay in the 27th minute and straight away Troy Lajeunesse unleashed a one timer that was well saved by Wall. With just over a minute left on the penalty the Flyers had a two man advantage and although they moved the puck around well their best chance was created when Lajeunesse found Max Humitz who forced a very good save from Wall. The Devils returned to four skaters and with the penalty running down Salama had to make a stop on Barrow making a short handed bid. The Flyers made the breakthrough in the 30th minute after they broke the play up in their own zone and Lajeunesse went down the right wing and his cross to the back post was dispatched by Chiodo with Wall unable to get over in time. Devils responded with a Barrow shot which was blockered away and at the other end Lajeunesse let one rip but Wall held on. Just over 90 seconds after levelling the visitors took the lead and it was a similar story as the Flyers caught the Devils on the rush. Teemu Pulkkinen made a heads up play to Collin Shirley who got in behind the Devils defence and with just Wall to beat made no mistake. A minute later and the Devils went close when Marcus Crawford’s first effort hit the side of the net but with Salama down the Fife goalie managed to glove his follow up shot. Wall then spilled a Jonas Emmerdahl shot but the puck was cleared. In the 35th minute Salama made another very good save on Barrow and as the puck got in behind him Aleksi Mäkelä was on hand top mop up. Emmerdahl was hobbled in the 38th minute as he made a huge shot block from Donaghey. In the final minute of the period Sean Giles was just inches away from connecting with the puck at the far post to increase the visitors lead.

The Devils went on the powerplay two minutes into the final period and Brandon Alderson found some space and he tried to walk around Salama but the goalie stayed with him to make the save and was again in good position moments later to make a glove save as the Flyers completed the kill. In the 47th minute the puck broke the way of Vitalijs Pavlovs but Wall padded his drive away before moments later making a beauty of a kick save from the same player. The Devils went on another powerplay in the 48th minute and the Flyers came up with a fantastic kill, controlling the puck for over 30 seconds to help wind down the clock. There was a huge scramble out from of Salama in the 51st minute but the Flyers survived  and broke the other way on a 4 on 2 with Pilon just shooting wide. In the 53rd minute Pulkkinen had a blast from the top of the slot go wide and the Devils broke the other way shortly after with Mosey dropping the puck to Crandall who drove it home through the five hole of Salama to tie the game. Wall held a Pulkkinen snapshot with five minutes to go before the home side took the lead with just over three minutes remaining. Donaghey had the shot from the point and with a host of bodies around the Fife net the puck beat Salama. Casey Gilling almost leveled on the next shift but his tip in front went agonisingly wide. Lajeunesse and Pavlovs both had shots that Wall did well to save and with 90 seconds to go the Flyers called a timeout. Salama went to the bench and despite controlling the puck pretty much for the rest of the game in the Devils zone Cardiff stood resolutely and blocked shots where necessary to protect Wall and get the win.

The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 17th February 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.

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