Match Report – Saturday 30th March 2024

The Flyers and Flames were meeting for the final time in the regular season and once again vital playoff points were on the line with the Flames in a fight for one of the seeded positions and the Flyers looking to move up from 8th spot. The Flyers scratches were Brodie Kay, James Spence , Casey Gilling and Dominik Salama. The Flames scratched Turner Ripplinger and started Taz Burman in nets in place of the injured Eamon McAdam.

The visitors showed no signs of having any bus legs as they immediately set up camp in the Flyers defensive zone. Shane Owen was called upon 80 seconds in to stop Steven McParland who came in from the left wing and got a shot away at the top of his crease. It was little surprise that the Flames got the first goal on the board when a shot from Owen Griffiths in the 3rd minute appeared to take a deflection on its way past Owen. The first powerplay of the night went to the visitors just seconds after the restart and McParland resumed his personal battle with Owen who first made a blocker save and then a shoulder save on the Flames player. Aleksi Mäkelä also made a huge shot block as the Flyers killed the penalty. The opening five minutes of the game saw the Flyers spend very little time in the Flames zone and the Flyers relied on Owen again in the 7th minute when he denied Ryan Tait. Burman was eventually called into action moments later when he made a save from Troy Lajeunesse but the Flyers having weathered the early Flames onslaught got themselves back into the game in the 8th minute when Burman let a Mäkelä shot bounce off his pads and Teemu Pulkkinen quickly dispatched it into the back of the net. This gave Flyers some momentum and they started playing more in the Flames zone and after cycling the puck for over a minute they took the lead in the 12th minute when Jonas Emmerdahl from the tops of the circles picked the corner on Burman’s stick side. 60 seconds later and Lucas Chiodo almost made a connection close in. A mid ice collision between Lajeunesse and Brett Ferguson saw the Flames captain go to the room clearly in some difficulty and he would not return. Ryan Tait used his speed to outstrip the Flyers defence in the 14th minute but Owen shut the wickets on his shot. Matt Alvaro then tested Owen in the 18th minute as the Flames came more into the game again whilst shortly after Vitalijs Pavlovs had  a shot off the mask of Burman. The final chance of the period fell again to the speedy Tait but once again Owen shut him down with a solid save.

The second period started with a flurry of goals. The Flyers doubled their advantage just 11 seconds in when Kyle Osterberg went to the net and slid the puck towards goal, Burman let out the rebound which was gobbled up by Lajeunesse with an empty net to hit. A minute later and the Flames reduced the deficit as Ryan Hughes skated into the slot and his back hand shot or pass hit a Flyers skate and found a hole through Owen. 30 seconds later and the Flyers had their two goal advantage restored as they came down the right wing with Drake Pilon laying on a nice pass for Chiodo to skate onto and his soft touch from the slot sent the puck high over Burman and into the net. Brady Pouteau had an effort from the blueline saved by Burman. Each team then had spells of down low pressure in their opponents zone but defences came out on top and neither goalie had any serious saves to make. The game had a spell of almost 6 minutes without a whistle and the teams then started to trade rushes but again defences were closing down efforts and neither goalie was troubled. A whistle finally came as the Flames were penalised and the Flyers powerplay almost increased the lead when Lajeunesse found the stick of Osterberg and his redirect saw the puck skitter through the crease and out the other side. Owen had to be alert to stop a shorthanded bid by Matt Alvaro as he got a blocker on the puck. In the 37th minute the Flames went back on the man advantage and Owen produced a highlight reel save as he flashed the leather to glove a Bradley Lalonde one timer. With 15 seconds remaining the Flyers were called on a misconduct penalty and from the face off Owen made a save before a scrum saw a player from either side binned on roughing minors as the period closed.

The Flyers started the third period with a successful penalty kill. The Flames were still pressing and they created all of the chances of note. Firstly Sam Talbot tested Owen who got a glove on the puck and a minute later Ben O’Connor let one fly from the blueline that the Flyers goalie sticked away. The Flyers were content to try and contain the Flames who had the majority of zone time in the Flyers end but the chances they created mainly came from the outside. In the 49th minute Brady Pouteau had a drive from distance that Burman saved. Pouteau again had a chance moments later when he snuck down on the play but from a bad angle his drive went wide of goal. The clock slowly wound down and with just under three minutes to go the Flames were penalised. The Flyers powerplay put the icing on the cake with a goal from Shirley who redirected the puck past Burman following some nice interplay by Lajeunesse and Osterberg.

The Flyers are next at home on  Wednesday 3rd April when they entertain the Sheffield Steelers – 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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