Flyers: ‘Enjoy the win for 10 minutes - we still have work to do’

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It took until the second round of sudden death penalty shots to secure this most crucial, and most winnable of games - Fife Flyers never did do things the easy way!

The 4-3 victory over Dundee Stars sparked a wall of noise around the rink, Part joy, part relief.

If ever a side needed a win, it was Flyers.

After dropping to the bottom of the EIHL, and been roundly criticised for some flatlining performances, they had to deliver.

And they did.

Against a solid, good-looking Stars outfit which probably felt it did enough to take a 3-2 win back across the Tay, they pulled Blair Daly, grabbed a last-gasp equaliser, skated out sudden death over-time and then went head to head in a shoot-out, and emerged victorious.

Don’t under-estimate the impact that final outcome may have on the dressing-room.

If they deliver a second Stars scalp on Sunday then - and only then - can we declare it ‘‘game on’’ in pursuit of the play-offs.

Todd Dutiaume made the point there was still work to be done: ‘‘The guys can enjoy tonight for about ten minutes - we have to prepare for tomorrow.’’

The coaching staff were delighted with the win, and, as important, the shot of self-confidence it gave to the bench after recent defeats.

It was a one-goal hockey game all night long; one Flyers led and trailed in before the shoot-out took centre stage.

Brock McPherson opened the scoring for Stars at 13:13 with a cracking left wing top shelf shot on the PP, and it took Fife until the 26th minute to draw level; Derek Roehl made a superb steal on the point to hare in on goal. He saw two shots parried by netminder Dan Bakala, but support came from Ned Luckacevik who buried the puck in the net.

Flyers went ahead at 34:18 with a powerplay - something of a rarity this season as the specialist unit continues to toil.

With Matt Nickerson dominating the crease and making a highly effectively foil, Tim Hartung got the goal which saw them lead, but only for two minutes - the impressive Nico Saachetti tipping in a shot to send the teams in level.

The third period didn’t see Fife produce their best hockey - they played with huge heart and gusto for the first two, but struggled slightly in the final 20 minutes with this game wide open and there to be won.

Stars’ go-ahead goal at 44:54 through Sacchetti raised fears this was going to be another one of those nights - when winnable games were not claimed, and points are dropped unnecessarily.

As the clock wound down Stars looked comfortable on a 3-2 lead and Fife didn’t create many chances until they pulled netminder Daly with 1:36 to play and Jordan Fulton made amends for his earlier ten-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by bundling the puck home while six on five.

Four on four sudden death OT produced no winner, and so on to penalties where Daly made a couple of huge stops before Hartung delivered the killer blow for a vital 4-3 win.

Dutiaume spoke of his ‘‘huge relief’’ at getting the win but he also paid tribute to the effort his players put in.

‘‘We out shot them and we out-hearted them,’’ he said. ‘‘One win doesn’t change things radically in the standings, but, mentally, it is big - and you see what a big win does for this building. We delivered the goods and it erupted.’’

Flyers now head across the Tay to face Stars in Dundee on Sunday evening.

A four-point weekend could be the launchpad for their own, long-anticipated, play-off push.