A shut out, a fight, a stunning win, and a near packed rink - the Fife Flyers-Braehead Clan rivalry is up and running for another season.
First blood went to Flyers who skated to a superb 4-0 win which could easily have been much, much bigger.
There were huge performances across a bench that started minus the injured trio of Matt Reber, Kyle Horne and Chris Wands.
Kevin Regan enjoyed a solid shut out, Kyle Haines was near flawless in defence, but, for my money, the player who pulled the strings and orchestrated this victory was Ned Lukacevic.
The second line forward created chance after chance after chance which, on any other night, would have set up a landslide victory. Imagine if Reber had been on the end of his flicks and passes...
With a drop of a shoulder, a feint or his trademark pass off his skate, Lukacevic was simply wonderful to watch, and it was fitting he should have the final word with a stunning fourth goal to seal Clan’s fate. The clock was winding down as he surged down the right and simply picked his spot with a precision finish with left netminder Kyle Jones rooted to the spot.
Up until that point, he was sitting on stats of 0+1 - miserly returns for a contribution that was immense across 60 solid minutes of hockey; arguably Fife’s best performance of the season so far and one that will buzz round the locker room for some time.
Clan ended the game just as short handed as their hosts - their chief antagonist and panto villain Chris Frank was suspended, and they lost Lee Esders, stretchered off with a painful back injury, and then Scott Aarssen.
But in truth they were bossed for 60 minutes by a hard working Fife side.
It took Flyers 14 minutes to find the net, and then they scored twice inside eight seconds - Jordan Fulton netting off a Bobby Chaumont pass, and then Scott Fleming rifling home from the right.
The second period talking point was the fight between bearded heavyweights, Matt Nickerson and Zach Fitzgerald.
At 28:09 they agreed to dance, and made their way down the ice, each sizing up the opening move. In the end it was Nickerson who prevailed and left the Clan man on the ice. The fight electrified the rink as both sat five for fighting,
Flyers had a handful of powerplay chances and the specialist team delivered shortly before the second buzzer with Chaumont finishing off a Lukacevic pass.
In truth they looked good at 3-0, and when Clan failed on a five on three powerplay late in the period you could see their spirit start to ebb.
The third period pretty much saw Fife look comfortable at all times, with moments of magic from Lukacevic as he danced round defencemen and made hockey look ridiculously easy.
His closing goal was the perfect reward for an immense contribution.
For head coach, Todd Dutiaume, it was pretty much a perfect night,.
‘‘We won the game had a shut out and won the fight,’’ he said. ‘‘It was a fantastic team effort.’’
>> Fife Flyers travel to Belfast on Sunday
>> Read Matt Elder’s interview with MoM Ned Lukacevic in next week’s Fife Free Press.