Fife Flyers were masters of finding ways of winning games last season as they pieced together a remarkable run that took them to the British championship finals weekend.
Somewhere amid the stickiness of Sunday‘s performance that spirit surfaced once more, and the prospect of a frustrating defeat turned into a another big penalty shots victory.
It may not have been pretty or silky, but, once again, Flyers endured. With just 2:09 remaining in regulation time they finally conjured up an equaliser, and you just knew they’d go on and take the points.
Caps will feel aggrieved, but, ultimately, they didn’t close this game out despite numerous opportunities, particularly in the opening two periods when Fife’s timing was off; passes weren’t slick stick to stick, defensively they laboured through shifts, and more than once they were left vulnerable to Caps’ high man.
But a one-goal hockey game is rarely secure. One shot, one deflection, one mistake and the whole evening goes up in smoke.
The clock was ticking ominously close to zero when Fife finally found a way past a solid looking Hiadlovsky, but the moment Bobby Chaumont swept the puck home from the left you just knew it’d go to penalties, and Kevin Regan would stone Caps.
He was already MoM - the clear choice - after producing a string a solid saves at key moments as his defence let players loose, and gave them clear sight at his goal.
Jade Portwood and Jordan Steel were just two players whose hearts he broke with commanding saves when they were put clean through, and come penalty shots he was simply unbeatable.
As games go, this one won’t be recalled bar the scoreline.
The opening period was scrappy and sloppy, and goal-less - and if ever a match cried out for a red light to spark some momentum, this was it.
Chaumont and Chris Auger both struck metalwork, although the best chances fell to Caps. If only they had an out and out sniper ...
The go-ahead goal came on the half hour mark as a pass from the wing appeared to wrongfoot Matt Nickerson, and open up the ice for Portwood who nailed it with a good finish.
Flyers laboured at times throughout the opening 40 minutes - you could sense the frustration among the fans - but they pressurised early in the third and started to carve out some good chances’ Auger, Gunn and Lukacevic all had great openings.
Time was starting to seep away when they finally delivered courtesy of Chaumont’s sweeping finish from the left to take the game into OT where referee Allan Craig called some minor penalties and much debate ensued as Caps had too many men on the ice; a mistake that could have changed the outcome of the game.
In the end it went to penalty shots, with Chaumont netting the first - and indeed - only successful strike to wrap up all the points.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, was happy to take the result.
‘‘Never mind what people say - this is a tough place to come to and get a win,’’ he said. ‘’We got into a running game which is not our game, but we got the game tying goal and found a way to win.’’