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Match Report – Saturday 24th February 2024

The Flyers were looking to repeat their success on their last visit to play the Giants in the final regular season meeting in Belfast between the two sides. The Giants who were playing their first game of the weekend scratched Miles Gendron, Ara Nazarian, Mark Cooper, Greg Printz and Henrik Eriksson. The Flyers started Dominik Salama in net and scratched Casey Gilling, Fynn Page, James Spence and Brodie Kay.

The Giants controlled the play from the opening face off and within 30 seconds Salama made the first save of the night when he gloved the puck. The Giants almost opened the scoring in 90 seconds when Kohei Sato took a swipe at the puck on his backhand and it hit the post before shooting across the goal line and out the other side. The first stoppage in play following that almost two minutes later saw the play reviewed but clearly the puck did not cross the line. The Giants went on the powerplay in the 4th minute and almost immediately the Flyers pounced as Charlie Curti had the puck bobble over his stick in the neutral zone and Teemu Pulkkinen skated in to beat Tyler Beskorowany on a back hand shot in off the post for the shorthanded marker. The Flyers then executed a good penalty kill blocking a couple of shots before returning to full strength. The Giants however were back on terms in the 7th minute when Cameron Pound floated the puck towards goal from the blueline and it struck a Flyers defenceman to fall onto the stick of Travis Brown who managed to stuff it past Salama. It was the Flyers turn with the man advantage in the 10th minute and they had a lot of controlled possession without really threatening the Belfast goal although Beskorowany did make a good save at the top of his crease on Kyle Osterberg. Daniel Tedesco had a shorthanded bid denied by Salama just as the penalty expired. The Flyers returned to the powerplay soon after and this time made it count. Again they had lots of controlled puck possession without being able to fashion any grade A chances but late on a puck battle in the corner saw Pulkkinen slide the puck out into the slot where Johan Eriksson managed to squeak one past Beskorowany. In the 15th minute Salama denied Blake Speers and then Brady Pouteau and Sato dropped the gloves to earn five each for fighting. Troy Lajeunesse was very close with a drive but in the 17th minute before a piece of individual magic from Tedesco saw him toe drag the puck around the Flyers defenceman before going top shelf over the glove of Salama. The Giants went on the powerplay in the final minute of the period and Tedesco was denied by a shoulder save by Salama.

There was just over a minute of powerplay time left for the Flyers to kill at the start of the second period and they did so without any danger on their goal. Salama had to be alert in the 25th minute as a speculative shot by David Goodwin came through a screen making it awkward for the Fife goalie. A minute later and the Giants broke 2 on 1 and Bobby MacIntyre slipped the puck to Sato who tried to go five hole on Salama but he shut him down. Pound was next to test the visiting goalie then Blake Speers carried the puck into the Flyers zone and his shot was well blocked by Salama who then had to deny Ben Lake from close quarters. The Giants pressure paid off in the 31st minute when they transitioned quickly on an odd man rush and MacIntyre again fed the puck to Sato who walked in and around Salama to slide the puck into the empty net. A few minutes later Salama gloved a shot from Oliver McLead before the Giants went back on the powerplay when Sato was impeded on his way to the net. Salama had a pad save on Tedesco and also stopped Oliver Cooper along with a couple of blocked shots as Flyers made another successful kill. In the final few seconds of the period Lajeunesse tipped the puck in front of Beskorowany who was well positioned to make the save.

Flyers were first to threaten in the third period as Beskorowany made a huge save on Osterberg and Belfast broke the other way with Sato going down the right wing before he cut in off the boards and his back hand shot found a hole to squeak the puck past Salama. Salama had a solid save on a Jeff Baum blast in the 44th minute and a couple of minute later he denied the same player. The Flyers got to within a goal in the 46th minute when Chiodo recovered the puck behind the net and his centering pass was dispatched by Vitalijs Pavlovs. 37 seconds later however Belfast had their two goal cushion back again as a shot by David Goodwin was tipped in front by Tedesco giving Salama no chance. The Flyers bench wanted the goal reviewed but the game was restarted. The Flyers reduced the deficit again in the 50th minute when Sean Giles from the high slot picked the top corner over Beskorowany’s glove. The Giants hit back quickly again however to kill any momentum and within 20 seconds they had their two goal cushion again when Goodwin scored high on Salama’s stick side from the slot. In the 53rd minute Beskorowany had to fight off a shot from Jonas Emmerdahl in the slot and a minute later Speers took the puck for a walk in the Flyers end but his shot was smothered by Salama. The Flyers chances of a come back were reduced further when Belfast went on a powerplay with just over three minutes remaining. The Giants put an exclamation mark on their win with a hat trick goal from Sato who went between the legs from just outside of the crease and he got a favourable bounce off a Fife stick to send the puck fluttering over Salama and into the net. In the final minute the Giants were called twice for infractions and Max Humitz hit the crossbar before Salama stoned Matt McLeod on a breakaway with just the goalie to beat.

The Flyers are next at home on Saturday 2nd March when they entertain the Glasgow Clan – 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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