Match Report – Sunday 14th April 2024

The Flyers met the Steelers for their final home game of the 2023/24 season knowing that it would take something very special to overturn the deficit in this second leg quarter final play off tie. The Steelers protecting a five goal lead made some changes from the first game and rested Matt Greenfield in net with Anthony Morrone coming in whilst Patrick Watling and Mark Simpson were also scratched. The visitors were still without Robert Dowd, Jonathan Phillips and Patrick Harper whilst Zach Vinnell was drafted back into the lineup. The Flyers made one change with Casey Gilling returning to the Flyers bench in place of the injured Teemu Pulkkinen with James Spence also a scratch.

Just 20 seconds into the game and Vitalijs Pavlovs had the first shot on net from distance which Anthony Morrone dealt with comfortably. The Steelers first serious attack of the game after a minute ended with Mikko Juusola forcing Shane Owen into a kick save and the loose puck was then sent back on net by Mitchell Balmas who struck the outside of the post. The Flyers had a great chance to take the lead in the 5th minute when Jonas Emmerdahl found Troy Lajeunesse off to the side of the net but with the goal gaping the puck rolled off his stick and the chance was gone. The Steelers responded a minute later and Brett Neumann was denied by a blocker save by Owen and then as the game swung the other way Max Humitz had an effort on goal from the slot that was gobbled up Morrone. In the 7th minute the Steelers broke 3 on 1 and Owen made a fantastic save to deny Brandon Whistle who took the shot and the Flyers then responded with a Brady Pouteau shot that caught the shoulder of Morrone and bounced clear. The Flyers tested the visiting keeper again a minute later when Sean Giles fired one in from the blueline which Morrone stopped but he didn’t know where the puck was a relieved to get a whistle. Scott Allen in the 9th minute was all alone in the high slot but again Owen stood his ground. Almost immediately the Flyers went up the other end and couldn’t have come any closer as a redirect from Drake Pilon hit a post and the puck bounced to safety. In the 10th minute Owen made a solid pad save when an Allen shot deflected off a Flyers defenceman and was heading for the bottom corner of the net. The opening goal eventually arrived in the 14th minute after a battle in front of the net in which Kevin Tansey batted the puck out if mid air and it crept past Owen. Appeals and indeed a review for a possible high stick were futile as there was no video replay capability. Balmas was denied in the 16th minute by a fine pad save by Owen on a one timer and just as it looked as though the Flyers would go to the room down by just a goal the Steelers struck again. With 16 seconds remaining in the period after Owen had made two saves in close in succession Juusola picked up the loose puck and forced it short side into the net between the Fife goalie and the post.

Steelers now an insurmountable lead going into the second period and the game took on a different complexion with Sheffield content to play a more passive game and make sure that they kept everything tight at the back.  Kyle Osterberg did hit the outside of the post early on but there was little goal threat from either side in the opening seven minutes. Marc-Olivier Vallerand then stepped onto a shot that Owen did well to blocker away and moments later Juusola tried to beat Owen through the 5 hole but the goalie closed the pads and made the save. In the 28th minute Daniel Ciampini pinged the iron with a shot from the right wing and a minute later the Steelers did get a third when Juusola played a nice pass into the wheelhouse of Vallerand who blasted the puck past Owen.  The Flyers threatened in the 31st minute when Lucas Chiodo carried the puck into the Steelers zone and set up Humitz who saw his shot go straight into Morrone’s logo. The final chance of the period came in the 35th minute when Osterberg shot from distance but the Steelers keeper held onto the puck.

The opening six minutes of the third period was fairly subdued with the teams taking it in turns to attack but neither had the penetration to worry the goalies. In the 48th minute Osterberg on the rush was just wide with his shot and a minute later Chiodo fired straight into the chest of Morrone. The Sheffield keeper made his best save of the night in the 50th minute when he went post to post to block a shot by Giles. Pouteau then had a shot blocked and Juusola kept Owen on his toes as he drove the net but the Flyers keeper made the blocker save. With just over five minutes remaining the Flyers broke Morrone’s shut out when Chiodo was able to get the puck onto the stick of Shirley who fired home from the slot. In the final minute the Steelers added some gloss to their win as Brett Neumann broke in all alone to finish blocker side on Owen and seal an emphatic aggregate margin of victory in which neither side over the two legs were called for a single penalty.

The Flyers would like to thank all our loyal fans for your support.