Big shut out for Fife Flyers as Blaze collapse

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You can’t ask for more than a shut out on home ice at this stage of the season.

Fife Flyers’ sweeping of a frankly knackered looking Coventry Blaze was as comfortable as the 4-0 scoreline suggests.

It gave netminder David Brown a club record for EIHL shut outs, but not the MoM award - the sound of the fans chanting his name summed up who the people’s choice certainly was.

But it was a night of worthy contenders along the bench. The slick movement and vision of Sachetti, the immense workrate of Dingle, the continued growing presence and impact of Stockton, and the sheer class of Dorr, to name but just a few.

After losing 6-5 in Coventry last night - a game they would have won had they not wandered frustratingly off script - Flyers had to respond, and they did so with a solid, consistent performance which was filled with good things.

It took them just 23 seconds to find a way past netminder Brian Stewart - Stockton netting a rebound - and from thereon, they dominated across the ice pad.

They picked up every single puck thrown into their zone, forced Blaze into error after error, and created enough chances to win this game by two or three times the 4-0 margin.

Period one shots on goal of 20-7 pretty much summed up the striking gap between the teams - and for Blazed it was a second trip to Kirkcaldy without managing even a single goal. That’s another EIHL first for the Fife club.

The only criticism to be levelled at them was their one solitary goal from 20 shots in the opening period - a 20-minute spell which saw Dorr, Dingle, Cullen and numerous others all test Stewart with shots, tips and flicks as they swarmed round the net and kept up the pressure.

But there was one key moment at the other end which was pivotal to this win.

With 47 seconds remaining Brown stoned Chris Bruton with a catch as clean as they come. His shut out may have been relatively comfortable, but that single flash of his catching mitt drained the life out of Coventry.

In the second period the visitors crumbled, coughing two goals inside two minutes at the halfway stage - Caig’s turnaround in the home zone released Justin Fox to rifle a shot home at 28:40, and then Paquet faked a shot from the blue line to find Dingle who danced into the slot and netted at 30:47.

Blaze called an immediate time out but the tank was drained already. There was no spark as Fife kept a tight grip on this game.

The third period was one Blaze will want to remove from their memory banks.

Three moments summed up their night.

At 49:30 Chris Bruton tried to fire the puck in off Brown. As the goalie fell on his back he claimed the goal, but no light went on and referee Alan Craig had no hesitation washing it off.

The ten-minute misconduct penalty which followed barely 30 seconds later suggested he was one aggrieved hockey player.

With Bruton binned, Blaze then lost their netminder one minute later as Stewart went down and the game stopped for treatment.

He handed over to Kirkcaldy kid Renny Marr, and Stewart left the ice only to smack his head off the tunnel roof en route to the dressing-room.

And then big Boris Valebik decided he’d had enough and fought his way to an early finish.

With the crowd on his back, he clashed with Nico Sachetti on the plexi before squaring up.

I swear Nico grinned at him before the big enforcer started throwing some bombs around, mainly to the back of his helmet.

Fight over he looked around for any other candidates before heading across the ice pad, pausing to remove his helmet and taking a theatrical bow en route to the dressing room. As exits go, it was memorable!

Boris’ rap sheet included two minutes for roughing, five for fighting and a 2+10 for instigating.

Kyle Haines wrapped up the scoring with a power play rocket from the blue line at 58:30, and Fife closed out the shut out which delivered a winning end to a big weekend.

It perhaps could have been a four-point weekend, but, the team is playing with confidence and, crucially, consistency.

‘’It’s all about momentum’’ said head coach Todd Dutiaume. ‘’I watched Saturday’s game tape again and we were disappointing. We didn’t get off the mark and we left it too late to get it back.

‘’We let a few guys know their performances had to be better, and that was a mature response tonight.’’