Match Report – Sunday 24th March 2024

It was the final meeting in the regular season between the sides as the Flyers were on the hunt for points to consolidate their playoff position. The Flyers had a full roster with Casey Gilling, Brodie Kay and Dominik Salama the scratches. The Giants have seen their injury situations clear up in the last few weeks and their scratches were Charlie Curti, Sean Norris, Kohei Sato, Henrik Eriksson and Blake Speers.

The opening minutes of the game saw the sides trade rushes but neither team was successful in finding a way to get the puck through on the goalies. Giants however produced the first real chance of the game in the 4th minute when Shane Owen in his 300th appearance for the club went post to post to stop Travis Brown who had come barreling in from the left wing. A minute later and Tyler Beskorowany was in the game as he stopped an effort from Max Humitz. The Giants gradually took over the momentum although it was still somewhat out of the blue when they opened the scoring in the 11th minute. After the Flyers had cleared the puck out of their end Daniel Tedesco regained the zone and his feed across ice was collected by Ben Lake who fired top shelf over Owen’s glove from the circles. The Giants had their tails up and the Flyers were looking a little flat footed at times and Brown took advantage of some slack play to go in all alone on Owen who stymied his backhand attempt. Giants continued to press and Owen came up with another huge save in the 15th minute when he denied Ara Nazarian who cut a clear root to goal. The Flyers who had created few chances almost responded immediately when Johan Eriksson tested Beskorowany who made the save. Kevin Wehrs came up with a huge shot block in the 16th minute when he threw himself in front of a Jeff Baum drive. Giants went on the games first powerplay with just over two minutes of the period remaining. Tedesco almost doubled the visitors lead but his shot caught the inside of the post and stayed out of the net. The Flyers had a short handed bid when Kyle Osterberg set up Troy Lajeunesse but Beskorowany was equal to it.

The home crowd were stunned inside the opening minute of the second period when the Giants took a two goal lead. Tedesco and Josh Roach again doing the set up work for Ben Lake to beat Owen from close range with a tap in from the top of the crease. The Giants really had a stranglehold on the game at this point and had the Flyers chasing around in their own zone. Owen was called on again in the 23rd minute when he made a fine save on Bobby MacIntyre. Beskorowany then made another save on Eriksson but the home goal was leading a charmed life at this point as Tedesco couldn’t apply the finish to further stretch the Giants lead. Roach forced Owen into a good pad save in the 27th minute but the Flyers also threatened moments later and the puck wouldn’t fall kindly for them as Vitalijs Pavlovs was on the edge of the crease creating havoc and with Beskorowany swimming around Teemu Pulkkinen just couldn’t get an important touch on the puck. Lake looking for a hattrick brought out a strong blocker save from Owen and in the ensuing melee around the Flyers goal the Fife keeper performed heroics as he dived full length to make an important poke check as the Giants Nazarian then put the puck wide of the gaping net. The Flyers responded to those let offs and dragged themselves back into the game when Osterberg battled for the puck on the end boards and his centering feed was picked up by Lajeunesse who shot and the puck flew high over Beskorowany’s glove to hit the twine. 30 seconds later the roof almost came off the Auld Barn as Lajeunesse streaked through on a rush and his snapper beat Beskorowany cleanly through the five hole. The Giants immediately called a timeout to settle things down. On the restart the Flyers were called for an infraction putting the Giants back on the powerplay and they made their man advantage count. Tedesco sniped a set up by Roach, his third of the game, past Owen to give the visitors the lead again two minutes after the game had been tied up. Greg Printz was stopped by a fine pad save by Owen in the 34th minute before the Flyers went on their first man advantage of the night. Some nice possession play set up a chance for Pulkkinen in the bumper position but his effort tricked wide and moments later he shot into the pads of the Giants goalie. The Giants killed the penalty and also survived an almighty scramble around their goal in the final two minutes of the period as once again a Fife stick could not make contact with a bouncing puck as Beskorowany could only scramble around in desperation.

The first chance of the third period came in the 43rd minute when Kevin Wehrs tested the Giants goalie from distance and he had to make a pad save before the visitors went the other way with Owen having to look sharp to deny Tedesco. The Flyers were on the powerplay again in the 47th minute and Sean Giles was denied by a fine shoulder save before Lucas Chiodo went high over the bar with a drive with some net on show. Having killed the penalty the Giants were again penalized with 8 minutes to go but the Flyers struggled to get anything set up during the two minutes and the teams returned to even strength. With five minutes remaining however the Flyers got the game tied up again as Pavlovs was on the edge of the crease to take advantage of a rebound off the pads of Beskorowany much to the delight of the home fans. The Giants had to kill another penalty in the final three minutes as the Flyers looked to grab a regulation time winner. Wehrs from the blueline had Beskorowany at full stretch to snag with his glove before Pulkkinen fired one over the bar. At even strength the game had one final chance and it fell to Collin Shirley who was in close on the Giants keeper who absolutely stoned him to take the game to overtime.

Lake had the first shot on the 3 on 3 but Owen comfortably saved before the Giants yet again were called for an infraction giving the Flyers a 4 on 3 powerplay. Tom Coolen used his timeout before the start of the powerplay and the Flyers after some interpassing across the slot set up a one timer from Lajeunesse which was tipped by Pulkkinen on its way past Beskorowany for a dramatic winner. The two points moved the Flyers into a three way tie on points in the standings with Glasgow and Coventry with the Flyers moving up to 6th spot courtesy of their superior number of regulation wins which is the first tiebreaker.

The Flyers are next at home on Thursday 28th March when they entertain the Nottingham Panthers – tickets can be bought online here:  Tickets – Fife Flyers or look out on social media channels for box office opening times.