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Match Report – Wednesday 3rd April 2024

The Steelers were the visitors for the Flyers penultimate home regular season game. Some travel difficulties with the Steelers coach breaking down at Scotch Corner meant that the face-off was delayed by an hour. The Flyers had a full bench with Casey Gilling and Dominik Salama the scratches. The Steelers scratched Matt Greenfield, Josh Nicholls, Colton Saucerman, Jonathan Phillips and Brandon Whistle.

90 seconds in to the game the Steelers had the first threat on goal when Daniel Ciampini got a weak shot in on Shane Owen who steered the puck wide of goal. The Flyers responded with a 2 on 1 break with Max Humitz carrying the puck down the right wing and his pass to Collin Shirley hit the defencemans stick on the way through and the danger was cleared. Steelers were showing that despite their travel difficulties they certainly didn’t have a case of bus legs and in the 4th minute when Finlay Ulrick tipped a shot just wide then Brett Neumann brought out a blocker save by Owen. Sam Jones a minute later was denied by Owen and the Steelers came even closer 30 seconds later when the league’s top points scorer Mitchell Balmas struck the post. The first man advantage of the game went to the Flyers in the 7th minute but the Steelers penalty kill did a good job and restricted the Flyers to just a couple of half chances around Anthony Morrone’s net. Just a handful of seconds after the Steelers returned to full strength they struck for the opening goal. Their speed in transition created an odd man rush and the puck eventually fell at the stick of Robert Dowd who had Owen out of position to net easily. The Flyers produced a great response and in the 11th minute they had the game tied up. Troy Lajeunesse made a fantastic play to strip the puck from a Steelers player in the high slot and his pass down low was redirected past Morrone on the stick side by Kyle Osterberg. In the 15th minute each team was called for coincidental roughing minors as we stayed at full strength. Owen had to make another highlight save in the 17th minute when Patrick Watling came streaking in on net but he closed his pads to deny him. The visitors did get their noses in front in the final minute of the period when a shot struck the post and bounced to the other side of the goal where Cole Shudra was able to knock it into the net as Owen scrambled across.

Into the second period and a couple of minutes in Teemu Pulkkinen just couldn’t get a decisive touch on a scramble around the Steelers net and as the puck came back to him his shot struck the crossbar. The Steelers punished the let off moments later as Scott Allen won a puck battle behind the Flyers net and was able to then walk out in front and pick his corner. It was almost another Steelers goal 10 seconds later but again the metalwork saved the Flyers as Mark Simpson saw his shot hit the inside of the post and bounce clear. At the other end Shirley got a touch on the puck close in on Morrone who made the block. Robert Dowd had a huge blast well saved by Owen in the 26th minute and a minute later he saved a tip shot from close quarters and as the rebound fell to Jones he dived full length to make an incredible glove save. Pulkkinen hit Morrone square in the mask with a snap shot at the halfway point and a minute later Owen produced a shoulder save to deny Mikko Juusola. Aleksi Mäkelä did really well to make a shot block on an odd man rush before the Flyers returned to the powerplay. Their best chance during the two minute was a Max Humitz tip that struck the crossbar. The Flyers did however get themselves back into the game with three minutes of the period remaining when Lajeunesse played the percentages and produced a shot pass off the goalies pads that fell for Drake Pilon who drove the net to lift the puck over Morrone.

The Flyers started the third period brightly and Pulkkinen had a shot which forced a pad save from Morrone who was then well positioned to stop a tip from the same player just seconds later. Another Flyers powerplay in the 46th minute saw Lajeunesse sting the goalie with a fierce one timer but that was the closest the Flyers came to scoring. Back at full strength Owen had to produce another strong save as Kevin Tansey burst in towards his goal. Morrone then stopped Johan Eriksson and later he denied Lajeunesse as the Steelers looked to manage the clock. With almost three minutes remaining in the game the Steelers stretched their lead when Patrick Harper showed the Flyers defence a clean pair of heals and beat Owen five hole with a quick release on his shot. In the final two minutes the Steelers went on their first powerplay and midway through they had a two man advantage as both teams were penalized for roughing with Flyers picking up the extra penalty. With just a few seconds left a further Flyers infraction was called but it all made no difference to the final outcome.

The Flyers are next at home on  Sunday 8th when they entertain the Dundee Stars – 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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