Despair for travelling Fifers as Flyers come up short in Belfast

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You could sum up this game, and indeed, Fife Flyers season in three words. Coming up short.

A season that was meant to see a sustained and serious challenge for silverware has been one of one step forward, one step back.

Glimmers of hope. Evenings of frustration and despair.

The play-offs shouldn’t be in the doubt - but beyond that depends very much on which Flyers side shows up; the one capable of netting six in Belfast and winning in Nottingham, and of bossing Braehead from start to finish, or the one that switches off, makes mistakes and drifts out of games.

Coming up short - collectively and individually.

Saturday night saw a huge number of fans cross the Irish Sea and they deserved better than a 5-2 loss.

Giants went into the game on the back of a 4-0 Friday drubbing at the hands of Nottingham Panthers, so they we always going to be smarting.

Fife knew it, prepared for it, and still coughed the opening period 3-0, two goals coming inside 30 seconds pretty much sucked the competitive zest out of them.

In truth it could have been five or more by the final buzzer as Giants pulled defenceman around and make full use of Flyers’ ropey defensive efforts.

Offensively, the Fifers offered precious little until early in the second, by which time the damage had been done.

Some snapshots.

Playing four on four and 2-0, the hugely influential Ray Sawada worked his tail off behind the net. He held off players - plural - set up the chance with a pass to the point, and moved into position to get away a great shot on Regan.

Daryl Lloyd then sat out a boarding minor, stepped back on to the ice and on to the puck as Jamie Milam slipped, rounded Regan and hit the empty net for 3-0.

The stats on the big screen said it all. Flyers were outshot 14-4 and out hit by 15-5.

Those second numbers really underlined the difference between the teams.

There’s no doubt Fife played better in the second, but this outcome of this game was pretty much already certain.

Ned Luckacevic saw one back hand effort go close before a neat finish on the powerplay at 23:55 for 3-1.

Giants remained in the driving seat however. They weren’t subjected to any sustained pressure. No real questions were asked of their D or their netminder. Sure they has chances, but nothing that really had you on the edge of your seat in anticipation.

It could have been 4-1 in the 33rd minute as Regan made a hash of things behind his net, but atoned with a stonewaller of a save to deny Lloyd front of the house, but he was beaten just minutes later as Peacock flicked home from the right on the powerplay.

Fife had a goal washed out amid some debate - 4-2 may have given some hope but the reality was the better side was always in control and in command.

By the end of P2 the scoreboards were showing hits of 27-13 in favour of the hosts. the shots on goal weren’t any more heartening at 25-15.

Perhaps the night and Flyers shortcomings were crystalised by Giants’ fifth counter in the 55th minute.

Sawada fired from the point, and Regan tracked the puck past his near post. Danger averted. It bounced back off the boards on the other side where Colin Shields had time to snap it on to his stick, set himself up and net even before a single defenceman had turned.

Flyers grabbed a consolation effort right on the buzzer, but by then some fans had headed back to their hotel or to the. bar - it was so insignificant the goal wasn’t even announced.

Within an hour of the final buzzer the team was heading to the ferry for a late night crossing back to Stranraer and a long road trip to Fife.

They have much to ponder.