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Match Report – Saturday 17th February 2024

The Flyers and Devils met up again following their midweek match in Wales, this was the Devils final trip North to Kirkcaldy. The home side lined up with Shane Owen starting in net and added Fynn Page but were otherwise unchanged from Wednesday night with Kyle Osterberg, Dominik Salama, Brodie Kay and James Spence all scratched. The Devils had no changes in their roster from their narrow 3-2 win with River Rymsha and Josh Waller both still missing.

The visitors threatened first after only 10 seconds when Jamie Arniel whose shot was gloved by Shane Owen. In the 3rd minute Troy Lajeunesse and Marcus Crawford tangled on the boards and the Devils player stayed down on the ice. From the resultant scrum coincidental minors saw the teams stay skating 5 on 5.  The Flyers took the lead on their first concerted effort on goal in the 4th minute when Sean Giles carried the puck down ice before passing to Drake Pilon who then fed it to Collin Shirley and he beat Tyler Wall. The Flyers had the next couple of chances when Max Humitz and then Teemu Pulkkinen had efforts before the Devils hit back in the 7th minute when Cole Sanford tested Owen. Wall was almost fooled in the 9th minute when Jonas Emmerdahl floated one on net and he was forced to react late. It was end to end action and Cole Ully had a couple of looks on Owen. Moments later and Johan Eriksson saw his shot miss the net by a whisker before the Flyers came again with Giles testing Wall. Owen made a highlight reel save a minute later following a give away by the Flyers in their zone and he had to look alert to thwart two follow up chances. The Devils had the games first powerplay in the 11th minute and Owen did well to shut down a chance for Arniel. Not long after returning to full strength the Flyers were called for another infraction and Brandon Alderson created some havoc around Owen’s net but the home side completed the kill. In the final minute Owen saved once more when he stopped a Sanford shot with his shoulder.

19 seconds into the second period and the Devils had the man advantage one again, Flyers penalty kill was on point however and they returned to full strength without too much difficulty. It was the Flyers turn in the 24th minute to try to extend their lead when they went on the powerplay and following a Lucas Chiodo blast they made their advantage count when Max Humitz was on hand to knock the puck into the net following the initial shot by Eriksson. In the 25th minute Owen once again denied Ully and a minute later a Vitalijs Pavlovs backhand went just wide of the net. Flyers continued to push for another goal and Troy Lajeunesse combined with Pulkkinen who cut in towards goal but Wall stood strong. In the 33rd minute the Flyers went back on the powerplay and immediately Lajeunesse threatened with a wicked one timer which was recycled and Collin Shirley shot was redirected into the next by Pulkkinen for the Flyers third. A minute later and the Devils had the chance to reduce the arrears as they went on the powerplay and Sanford had a blast that was saved but with just a few seconds of the penalty remaining they finally made the breakthrough when Trevor Cox fed the puck over to the back post where Arniel roofed it over Owen. The following shift and Devils put the Flyers defence under all sorts of pressure and they were called for another infraction. The Devils powerplay clicked again to make it a one goal game with 90 seconds of the period remaining when a Sanford blast came loose and Alderson was on hand to sweep the puck home. Flyers had the final shot of the period as Lajeunesse wired the puck narrowly wide of the post.

Wall came up with the first save of the third period when he stopped Casey Gilling in the 43rd minute. In the 44th minute a screen shot by Ully was gloved by Owen. Devils however leveled the game in the 45th minute when Joey Martin sniped the puck high glove on Owen. Pulkkinen responded after being set up by Lajeunesse but his shot was blocked and on the 48th minute Eriksson had two efforts on goal in quick succession as the Flyers looked to regain the lead. The go ahead goal arrived in the 51st minute when a Humitz shoot in bounced off the backboards and couldn’t be gathered by Wall allowing Drake Pilon to gather the puck and score. Almost immediately Flyers were given the chance to further extend the lead when Devils were called for an infraction. The powerplay retained possession well in the Devils zone for the entire two minute and although they moved the puck around smartly they could not fashion a killer chance and the Devils returned to full strength. Approaching the last five minutes the visitors tied the game up when Ryan Barrow broke up the right wing and slid the puck across ice to Arniel who got his stick on it and the redirection fooled Owen. The best chance in the remainder of regulation time fell the way of the Flyers but Wall was able to deflect away a Pulkkinen shot.

Into overtime and the early chances fell to Shirley and Evan Mosey. The Flyers held the upper hand in terms of puck possession and control of the play in the extra five minutes but they couldn’t carve out a quality chance and so we went all the way to a shootout.

The first shooter was Sanford for Cardiff and his successful attempt proved to be the only goal as Owen made two further saves with Devils missing two but Wall made three saves with two missed efforts by the Flyers as the Devils took the extra point.

The Flyers are next at home on Friday 23rd 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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