Capital gains keep Fife Flyers in play-off mix

Todd Dutiaume. Fife Flyers v Edinburgh Capitals. November 17, 2012. Pics: Steve Gunn, shotbyagunn photography
Todd Dutiaume. Fife Flyers v Edinburgh Capitals. November 17, 2012. Pics: Steve Gunn, shotbyagunn photography

Allan Crow on a big win over an old rival, but the race goes to the wire ...

The play-off dream is still alive - just don’t attempt to work out all the permutations.

The play-off dream is still alive - just don’t attempt to work out all the permutations.

Halfway through the penultimate weekend of the regular season and not a single coach can begin to predict with confidence the winners and losers from the ‘‘ten into eight’’ conundrum.

This race is going to the wire, and, who knows, we may be sitting here next Sunday with a spreadsheet and calculator to finally draw the line in the sand that takes the top eight into the play-offs, and sends the other two off to the golf course.

Fife Flyers need to keep winning and that’s exactly what they did against Edinburgh Capitals, skating to a solid 5-1 victory to draw level on points with 44 apiece - albeit the city side have a game in hand.

It was clear from the start they meant business - they bossed Caps around, forced the pace, took the body and carved out some cracking chances.

Jamie Wilson got Fife off the boards, and a quick double from Casey Haines and a tireless Todd Dutiaume took it to 3-0, prompting a slightly dishevelled Caps to call a time out to regroup.

They grabbed a lifeline through Dobron in the final two minutes of the second period, only to fall out of the third as Flyers again dominated the puck, and dictated much of the play.

Keller made it 4-1 before Jason Pitton exploded with a rather pointless rag-dolling of the unfortunate Brant Patry after a check on the boards.

The fight was one-sided, both took five minute penalties - poor Patry didn’t throw a punch - and Pitton returned to grab goal number five and the MoM award, although as he admitted afterwards: ‘‘I think fans got it for me! I don’t think I played my best, and things kinda unravelled in the third ... he rubbed me out on the boards. These things happen.’’

In truth, Fife had solid 60-minute performances from a string of players - Jeff Caister was excellent, Kyle Horne never put a skate wrong, and Dutiaume did all the grubby work in the corners and round the net all night long. The self confessed ‘‘old man of the team’’ still displays a hunger to win. He was a worthy MoM candidate.

Those qualities were picked up on by assistant coach Danny Stewart who said: ‘‘Play-offs are all about 60 minutes of guys doing their job.

‘‘There was a good feeling in the room tonight - everyone was ready. At this time of year you have to bring that (commitment) yourself.

‘‘I we play hard for 60 minutes, and skate in all three zones in Edinburgh tomorrow then I fancy our chances.’’

Stewart said the team would meet ahead of the bus trip over the Forth and focus on their task - a win.

Flyers have endured some torrid nights at a city rink where few teams sparkle in the miserable, cold, gloomy surroundings, but with all five conference teams and Cardiff chasing the final play-off spots there is simply no margin for error.

Victory would take them above Caps and set up a real last day showdown with Braehead Clan at Fife Ice Arena where Flyers form has been as good as any of the top four EIHL sides.

But they cannot look beyond Sunday.

As always they will take a big support across the bridge to a rink ‘fondly’ referred to as ‘‘a freezer’’ - and if they replicate tonight’s 5-1 win then it really be winner takes place final weekend.

And the old barn will surely rock then ...

ALLAN CROW

>> Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers,

Sunday, 6,.00 p.m.

>> Follow @mattelder_ffp and @fifefreeprfessed for updates throughout the game and from the post-match media conferences.

>> Tweet your match verdicts to @mattelder_ffp for our #Twittertalk column in the Fife Free Press.

Capital gains keep Fife Flyers in play-off hunt

ALLAN CROW on the race that is going to the wire.

The play-off dream is still alive - just don’t attempt to work out all the permutations.

This race is going to the wire, and, who knows, we may be sitting here next Sunday with a spreadsheet and calculator to finally draw the line in the sand that takes the top eight into the play-offs, and sends the other two off to the golf course.

Fife Flyers need to keep winning and that’s exactly what they did against Edinburgh Capitals, skating to a solid 5-1 victory to draw level on points with 44 apiece - albeit the city side have a game in hand.

It was clear from the start they meant business - they bossed Caps around, forced the pace, took the body and carved out some cracking chances.

Jamie Wilson got Fife off the boards, and a quick double from Casey Haines and a tireless Todd Dutiaume took it to 3-0, prompting a slightly dishevelled Caps to call a time out to regroup.

They grabbed a lifeline through Dobron in the final two minutes of the second period, only to fall out of the third as Flyers again dominated the puck, and dictated much of the play.

Keller made it 4-1 before Jason Pitton exploded with a rather pointless rag-dolling of the unfortunate Brant Patry after a check on the boards.

The fight was one-sided, both took five minute penalties - poor Patry didn’t throw a punch - and Pitton returned to grab goal number five and the MoM award, although as he admitted afterwards: ‘‘I think fans got it for me! I don’t think I played my best, and things kinda unravelled in the third ... he rubbed me out on the boards. These things happen.’’

In truth, Fife had solid 60-minute performances from a string of players - Jeff Caister was excellent, Kyle Horne never put a skate wrong, and Dutiaume did all the grubby work in the corners and round the net all night long. The self confessed ‘‘old man of the team’’ still displays a hunger to win. He was a worthy MoM candidate.

Those qualities were picked up on by assistant coach Danny Stewart who said: ‘‘Play-offs are all about 60 minutes of guys doing their job.

‘‘There was a good feeling in the room tonight - everyone was ready. At this time of year you have to bring that (commitment) yourself.

‘‘I we play hard for 60 minutes, and skate in all three zones in Edinburgh tomorrow then I fancy our chances.’’

Stewart said the team would meet ahead of the bus trip over the Forth and focus on their task - a win.

Flyers have endured some torrid nights at a city rink where few teams sparkle in the miserable, cold, gloomy surroundings, but with all five conference teams and Cardiff chasing the final play-off spots there is simply no margin for error.

Victory would take them above Caps and set up a real last day showdown with Braehead Clan at Fife Ice Arena where Flyers form has been as good as any of the top four EIHL sides.

But they cannot look beyond Sunday.

As always they will take a big support across the bridge to a rink ‘fondly’ referred to as ‘‘a freezer’’ - and if they replicate tonight’s 5-1 win then it really be winner takes place final weekend.

And the old barn will surely rock then ...

ALLAN CROW

>> Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers,

Sunday, 6,.00 p.m.

>> Follow @mattelder_ffp and @fifefreeprfessed for updates throughout the game and from the post-match media conferences.

>> Tweet your match verdicts to @mattelder_ffp for our #Twittertalk column in the Fife Free Press.