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Match Report – Friday 1st March 2024

The Fife Flyers and Glasgow Clan faced off for the first of their back to back meetings this weekend with playoff positions firmly in the balance for both teams. The Clan scratched Alex Roach, Ryan Harrison and Reid Petryk whilst the Flyers had a full squad available and made a game time decision after warm ups to scratch Teemu Pulkkinen.

The opening two minutes of the game was a fast paced and free flowing affair with both sides trading rushes. The action was abruptly halted when Dyson Stevenson and Drake Pilon dropped the gloves at center ice with the Flyers player getting the take down. Drake would return after his five minutes in the bin wearing the number 3 blood shirt. The home side were soon ahead in the 3rd minute when a breakdown in defensive coverage saw Jordan Cownie take the puck down the right side before centering to Rob Lachowicz who had all sorts of time in the slot to shoot high over Shane Owen’s glove. The Clan went on the games first powerplay a minute later and straight away Owen had to look sharp to stop a blast from Jake Bolton. 30 seconds in and the Flyers committed another infraction putting Clan on a 5 on 3 man advantage and they made it count when Gary Haden from the slot had time to pick the corner of the net on Owen’s stick side. The Flyers were still on the penalty kill but managed to see out the rest of the 5 on 4 to return to full strength. Antii Karjalainen had his first real taste of action in the 7th minute when he stopped shots from Max Humitz and Troy Lajeunesse. The Flyers were on the powerplay in the 9th minute but from the offensive zone face off they coughed up puck possession and Luke Lynch streaked up ice forcing another penalty as he got his shot away but Owen saved. The teams skated 4 on 4 and with the extra space the Flyers got a goal back when Lucas Chiodo collected the puck in the neutral zone to hit Collin Shirley with a pass who skated in from the blueline and beat Karjalainen. The teams returned to full strength and in the 13th minute Matt Barry won a puck battle to get a shot in on Owen who saved well. Moments later however the Flyers conceded again when they were beaten by Clan’s cycle of the puck and Luke Lynch managed to find Philippe Sanche who made no mistake from close in on Owen. In what continued to be a wide open game the Flyers roared back when Kyle Osterberg carried the puck into the Clan zone and drove the net which created a rebound from Karjalainen and Jonas Emmerdahl following up on the play found the net in the 16th minute. On the following shift Casey Gilling had the puck roll off his stick with Karjalainen down and out. Two minutes later and the Flyers were level when Aleksi Mäkelä put the puck on net from just inside the blueline and his fluttering shot found the top corner of the net on Karjalainen’s stick side.

Owen made the first save of the second period when he comfortably gloved the puck from Bolton. In the 24th minute a Lajeunesse steal in the Clan zone set up a chance for Osterberg but Karjalainen made a pad save before he then did likewise on a follow up attempt by Lajeunesse. The Clan goalie was once again in action a minute later when he denied Humitz on a wraparound attempt. Unlike the first period the opening six minutes of play in the second was punctuated with a lot more whistles but the game burst back into life as the home side went back in front in the 27th minute when the Clan controlled the puck in the Flyers zone and worked the space for Jordan Cownie to feed Lynch who stepped away from a Flyers defenceman and beat Owen with a wrister from the slot.  Owen made a toe save to stop Matt Barry in the 29th minute before the Flyers made a quick transition and a Chiodo pass into the slot was one timed past Karjalainen by an on rushing Johan Eriksson to tie things up again. Less than two minutes later however the Clan were back in from as Mike Pelech received the puck behind Owen’s net and his pass out front was dispatched by Haden with the Fife goalie having no chance. A minute later the sides were called for offsetting minor penalties and continued to skate 5 on 5. Clan almost increased their lead in the 35th minute following a give away in the Fife zone but Alex Forbes fired just inches wide of the post. The last chance of the period fell to Clan a minute later with a 2 on 1 break with Sanche laying the puck off to Cownie but Owen was able to fight off his effort.

The Flyers got back on level terms within 8 seconds of the restart of the third period when Osterberg latched on to a loose puck and went to the net to slip the puck stick side on Karjalainen. 30 seconds into the period and the Flyers went on the powerplay and almost immediately Lajeunesse was denied by the pipe with Karjalainen well beaten. Clan killed the penalty and in the 43rd minute Osterberg again tested Karjalainen from the angle but he gloved it away. The Clan were next on the powerplay in the 45th minute but the Flyers came up with a strong kill by blocking a couple of shots but generally keeping the Clan to the outside. After Fife returned to full strength Humitz wound up a slapper in the high slot that Karjalainen snagged. The Flyers almost took the lead for the first time in the game in the 50th minute when Vitalijs Pavlovs on the left wing fed the puck cross crease to Lajeunesse and with the goal at his mercy he couldn’t get a connection. In the 51st minute Bryce Reddick tested Own with a shot and a minute later the Flyers once again went on the powerplay but the Clan penalty kill came up trumps as the visitors failed to get anything set up during the two minutes. The Flyers were penalised with under four minutes remaining and Clan didn’t take long on their powerplay to take the lead again when Sanche stripped the puck off a Flyers stick in the slot and worked an opening for Barry who had a wide open net. The Flyers wouldn’t go away however and under a minute later they had the game tied up once again when Eriksson pounced on a loose puck in the Clan zone and went to the net before slipping the puck back across the crease and Lajeunesse had a wide open cage to score into.  With 90 seconds to go each side was called on offsetting minors but the Clan were awarded another powerplay with just 51 seconds remaining after pressure from them in the Flyers zone forced a trip. The Flyers kill was strong as regulation time ended.

Into overtime and the first order of business was to kill a little over one minute of the Clan powerplay. Clan were unlucky almost immediately as they saw a Mike Pelech shot hit the outside of the post but the teams returned to 4 on 4 for a while until a stoppage. The Flyers struck at 3 on 3 when Chiodo broke up a Clan attack in his own zone and skated the puck out and fed Lajeunesse who found Kevin Wehrs and as he went to the side of the Clan net somehow managed to squeeze the puck back out through the crease and Chiodo followed up to pop the puck into the gaping net.

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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