Match Report – Sunday 18th February 2024

The Flyers made their second trip of the season to Nottingham after the two teams were involved in an offensive explosion in their last meeting eight days ago. Interestingly both teams started with different netminders with Dominik Salama getting the start for the Flyers who were without Kyle Osterberg and Brodie Kay but added James Spence to their bench from the previous night. The Panthers started Rok Stojanovic but were without Mathieu Lemay, Josh Tetlow, Tyler Welsh and Ollie Betteridge.

Dominik Salama had the first save of the game in the 2nd minute as Panthers dominated the early possession. A minute later and Anthony Luciani tested the Fife goalie again who smothered the puck. From the face off however the home side took the lead when the puck bounced off Kevin Wehrs skate and fell nicely for Alexander Lunsjo who finished clinically with a shot high over Salama’s glove into the top corner. It was all Panthers and in the 7th minute after a prolonged cycle in the Flyers zone Lunsjo once again tested Salama. The Panthers went on the powerplay in the 8th minute and the Flyers did well to kill with two big shot blocks and Salama twice making saves from Carl Neill. The Flyers were almost punished in the 10th minute for a defensive zone turnover but Salama denied Jake Ryczek and moments later Westin Michaud was also thwarted by the visiting goalie. The Flyers first cohesive attack came in the 12th minute when Troy Lajeunesse and Teemu Pulkkinen made a good zone entry but a Panthers stick deflected the shot into the netting. Moments later Brady Pouteau stepped up on the bluelines and put the puck on net which took a deflection and rang the post. The Flyers first shot on goal was recorded in the 17th minute when Collin Shirley and Drake Pilon broke and the formers shot was saved by Stojanovic who also held his ground to stop Aleksi Mäkelä. Neill fired one off the shoulder of Salama with two minutes to go before Shirley drove the net but the Panthers netminder tracked him across his crease. Salama had the final save of the period when he stopped Stephen Anderson on a break.

The Flyers made a bright start to the second period with Pulkkinen having the first chance but again a Panthers stick was able to deflect the puck away. Pouteau and Shirley then threatened with shots before Pulkkinen was stopped by Stojanovic. In the 25th minute Shirley and Max Humitz broke away and Shirley missed the net with his shot. A minute later and Lucas Chiodo worked himself some space and fed the puck to Pulkkinen but once again the Panthers defence did a great job with another big shot block. Salama had had little to do in this period but in the 28th minute he flat out robbed Logan Neilson who received a puck at the back post from Michaud but the Flyers goalie got his glove over to snag the puck. In the 30th minute Salama made a double save and the Panthers were soon back on another powerplay. The visitors killed the penalty with relative ease with the only shot on goal coming from Jake Ryczek. Pulkkinen wired a puck straight off the mask of Stojanovic in the 35th minute and a minute later Shirley broke away but just could not get the puck over to Pilon who was streaking towards the net. The Flyers went on the powerplay in the closing stages and didn’t manage to get anything of note set up with the closest to another goal being a short handed effort by Didrik Henbrant which Salama did well to thwart.

Salama dealt with a Neilson shot in the 44th minute and this heralded another pushback by the Flyers. Lajeunesse and Pulkkinen were just inches away from making a connection with the Panthers net gaping. After some sustained pressure the Flyers deservedly levelled when Johan Eriksson dished the puck to Mäkelä who made no mistake from the slot on Stojanovic’s stick side. The Flyers had a chance to take the lead moments later but Vitalijs Pavlovs fired over before Salama stopped Henbrant as the Panther crashed the net. It was then Panthers turn to hear the clank of metalwork when Myles McGurty struck the post but just seconds later Neilson did find the net when his shot from the high slot beat Salama above the pad and under the glove. Flyers responded within three minutes however to tie things up again when the Panthers were guilty of a horrible giveaway in their zone and Humitz spun and shot on the turn to find the top corner of the net. The final big chance came five minutes from time when Salama made a huge pad save on Henbrant as we went to overtime for the second time this weekend.

Flyers controlled the puck from the face off but when they gave it up the Panthers went the other way and snap shot by Otto Nieminen from the top of the circles found the top corner of the net to give the Panthers what could still be a massive second 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.