Match Report – Sunday 7th April 2024

The Flyers completed their regular season schedule safe in the knowledge that they had already secured a playoff spot regardless of the outcome. What still had to be determined was their final position in the standings with 6th to 8th spot still all possible. The Stars were fighting for their playoff lives and came in holding the 8th position but knowing that there was every likelihood that they would require at least a point from the game to make the post season. The Flyers added Brodie Kay, James Spence and Casey Gilling who was making his first appearance in the last nine games. The Stars were unchanged from the previous evening and were still without Kevin Carr. As with the game the previous evening there was a delayed face off to allow everyone into the building and the game got underway 15 minutes later than scheduled.

The Stars made a bright start to the game and in the first minute Shane Owen was tested by a Jake Elmer shot. Immediately the Flyers went on the attack and Lucas Brine was in the game as he held a shot from Teemu Pulkkinen. The visitors however took the lead with the opening goal just over two minutes in when they transitioned quickly up the ice with Spencer Naas carrying the puck and as he went around the Flyers defenceman Owen tried a poke check and the puck bounced kindly off Ryan Valentini and into the net. The Stars went looking to build on their lead and in the 5th minute it was Valentini again who forced Owen onto a fine reaction save with a shot from close in on the Fife net. Owen was keeping the Flyers in the game in the early stages and again in the 8th minute he thwarted the Stars when he made a strong leg save from Anthony Rinaldi. A minute later Owen flashed the leather to snag a shot by Elmer. The Flyers closest effort so far came in the 11th minute when Brine made a toe save on a shot by Aleksi Mäkelä. Dundee continued to look the more dangerous side but neither side were finding clear cut opportunities on either net minder. In the final few seconds of the period Kyle Osterberg was denied as his top corner shot hit Brine’s stick and may also have brushed the crossbar.

The next goal of the game felt vital and the opening few minutes again saw the Stars put most of the shots on Owen in the Fife net. Naas was stopped by a very good Owen save with his pad as he tipped a shot from the edge of the crease but the second goal for the visitors was only delayed when in the 24th minute Rinaldi burst in down the left wing and he picked the top corner cleanly over Owen’s glove. A minute later and the Flyers defence were all at sea but they somehow managed to survive a scramble around their cage before the danger was cleared. Troy Lajeunesse brought out a fine save from Brine in the 28th minute as the Flyers tried to find a way back into the contest. Another odd man rush immediately after this chance however saw Naas and Rinaldi fail to convert as the Dundee Stars in transition were causing the Fife all sorts of problems. Brent Beaudoin was next to be denied by a Shane Owen save when he was able to block another down low tip. Teemu Pulkkinen fired into the logo of Brine in the 32nd minute and a minute later the Stars had the opportunity to extend their lead as they went on the first powerplay of the game. The Fife penalty kill was strong however and with 18 seconds left in the penalty the Stars were penalized themselves. Following the short 4 on 4 sequence the Flyers were on the powerplay and they moved the puck around well and created a chance with Collin Shirley parked in the slot but his redirect was stopped by Brine who was in good position to the shooter. After returning to full strength the Stars got a break when Vitalijs Pavlovs clanked a shot off the post and moments later the game swung dramatically as they scored a vital third goal and once again the speed of Rinaldi did all the damage as he streaked through uncontested to beat Owen.

The Flyers needed the next goal as we went into the third period and within a couple of minutes they almost clawed one back as Lajeunesse forced Brine into a fine save and Dundee were happy to scramble the puck away. Flyers returned to the man advantage in the 46th minute and the Flyers were out of luck as Lajeunesse shot one off the crossbar. The follow up shift saw a goalmouth scramble and the referee awarded the Flyers a penalty shot. Lajeunesse took the shot and he beat Brine through the five hole to get the Flyers on the board and also ignite the crowd. The Flyers remained on the powerplay but the Stars manage to complete the kill. Shirley threatened the Stars goal in the 50th minute but his shot was again gobbled up by Brine. The Stars as the Flyers had done the previous night were content to play a passive posture to protect their lead and clogged up the neutral zone making it difficult for the Flyers to break through at speed as they looked to wind down the clock. Owen made another big stop with four minutes to go and with two minutes remaining the Flyers went for broke and pulled Owen for the extra attacker. Stars immediately had an effort on the empty net that hit a post and Brine then made a big glove save on Lajeunesse. Flyers called their timeout with just over a minute on the clock but the Stars won the defensive zone face off and a diving Brendan Harms swept the puck up ice and this time it found the empty net. The win moved the Stars back up into 7th place and the Flyers finished in 8th position with both teams looking forward to big games next weekend in a bid to make the play off finals in Nottingham.

The Flyers are next at home on  Sunday 14th 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.