Allan Crow on a night Fife Flyers will just want to forget.
TO quote Mark Morrison - ‘‘we stank the rink out tonight.’
The Flyers’ legend would have been quite blunt about such a poor performance - and he’d have been right.
The board inside Flyers dressing room had the words ‘‘play physical’’ in giant letters with key phrases which emphasised the need to skate hard, test the goalie - ‘pepper the kid with shots’ - and take command. In short, everything they didn’t do in a 3-1 home loss to a very short-benched Braehead Clan.
In short, this was their worst performance of a season in which the highs have absolutely outweighed the lows.
Straight from the face-off they coughed the puck and almost fell behind within seconds.
‘‘That showed our mentality,’’ said player-coach Todd Dutiaume in the post-game media briefings. ‘‘We have to play as a team - maybe the guys will see that when they watch the game tape.’’
Dutiaume also put the defeat in context, stressing: ‘‘The guys here are proud. We’ll take a day off and then work hard in training.’’
Danny Stewart, assistant coach, was just as direct, branding it ‘‘a terrible result’’ and adding: ‘‘We were individuals anxd when that happens it becomes a fire drill. No-one, bar Bryan Pitton, showed up.’’
The game was big in terms of the conference, and Clan were vulnerable as they iced just enough personnel to fill two lines, but they executed their game plan and thoroughly deserved their win. The new imports waiting in the wings to fly in would suggest they will be even stronger in the push for the play-offs. The gauntlet has been thrown down ...
That Fife took the first period 1-0 was frankly an act of robbery on ice!
They were awful, created virtually nothing, survived some scares in front of their own net, and yet stole the go-ahead goal four seconds from the buzzer thanks to a screamer of a shot from Jason Pitton.
The hard working Robert Framer got Clan deservedly level towards the half hour mark as this game trauchled along in second gear with little for the fans to shout or cheer about, At times it was as bad as watching ‘Dancing On Ice’ on the telly!
Fears we’d have to endure OT ran through an equally grim third period after Ash Goldie’s screeened blue line shot bounced off a player to deceive Pitton and give Clan a 2-1 lead just 28 seconds after the restart.
Flyers hashed their way through shift after shift until they pulled Pitton with 1:14 to go only for Jeff Caister to explode over an offside call 30 seconds from time. Exit the big d-man after a stonking rant on a 10-minute misconduct.
From the face-off Nicoelleti hit the empty net. 3-1. Game over and goodnight.
The hungrier team won, and deservedly so.
Stewart summed it up; ‘‘We deserved everything we got.’’