Flyers finding ways to lose

Fife Flyers logo large hi-res
Fife Flyers logo large hi-res

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume fears his side may have developed a losing habit after watching them throw away a two-goal lead in Edinburgh on Hogmanay.

Capitals came from behind to inflict Flyers third Gardiner Conference defeat in a row following back-to-back defeats against Dundee at the weekend.

Dutiaume told the Press: “We seem to be finding ways to lose hockey games.

“We had a good travelling support and when we’re up 2-0 after a period and a bit you’re thinking ‘good - we’re rolling’.

“Then we got mired into penalty trouble and although our PK has been good lately if you continue to take eight or nine minors per game it will eventually catch up with you and it did again.

“People might say we lacked a lucky bounce here or there but you make your own luck. When you’re working hard things bounce in off you.

“There are a few guys here that need to be thinking that hockey is their number one priority and start showing up every night.

“We need guys to look like they have that drive and danger to score goals, but I’m just not seeing it right now and it’s very disappointing.”

Flyers have another two conference games this weekend against Edinburgh at home on Saturday and away to Hull on Sunday and Dutiaume wants his team to show the form that has seen them pick up wins in venues like Cardiff, Coventry and Sheffield.

“We have to find a way to right the ship and turn things around,” he said.

“If you look at the success we’ve had away against southern teams - those are arguably the toughest challenges we’ve faced.

“We’ve been very successful down south but in conference we’re struggling right now.

“I don’t know if its down to the style of play that suits our team better but when we get into these conference games where there’s more space and time to think, we’re not responding well to it.

“We have to stay positive though. You can’t produce some of the results we have if you’re a bad team. We just need guys to turn up week in, week out to produce results and it’s just not happening right now.”

This annual Hogmanay derby drew a good crowd to Murrayfield, and with the clubs currently occupying the Elite League’s bottom two positions, there was a desperate need for the points on both sides of Forth.

The memories of Derek Keller’s dramatic last second overtime winner in last year’s Hogmanay derby - yes it’s been a year already - hung in the air as the teams were introduced.

But any fans expecting another cracker would have been disappointed with the quality of hockey on show in the first period.

Both teams struggled to get any fluency going, and it took a five-on-three powerplay to break the deadlock at 7.23 as Flyers took advantage of Peter Holecko and Jan Safar taking minor penalties within 20 seconds of each other.

Flyers initially lost possession and had to scramble back to defend a three-on-five breakaway, but this breakdown ended up working in their favour.

With Edinburgh over-committed, Jordan Fulton skated clear down the left wing and sent the puck to the back post where Bobby Chaumont knocked home the opener.

Flyers lost Kyle Haines to injury after he took a puck to the face midway through the period - he would later tweet of picture of himself from hospital with a nasty gash below his bottom lip - but Flyers held their lead into the first intermission.

What the first period lacked in action, the second made up for with five goals sparking the game to life.

Flyers were first to strike with a wonderful solo goal from Danny Stewart on 22.11 putting the visitors 2-0 ahead.

The associate coach weaved his way through the Caps defence before flicking the puck into Hiadlovsky’s top corner.

A Kyle Horne penalty for holding gave Caps a powerplay chance to get back into the game which they took on 24.12 with Horna left all alone at the back post to control a pass, look up, then pick his spot past Kevin Regan.

Within three minutes we were all square as Flyers lost the puck at one end, and a Caps counter attack saw the puck set up perfectly for Horna to skate onto and hit, and he almost burst the net.

Flyers seized back the initiative with a 32.18 powerplay goal from Chaumont putting the visitors 3-2 up.

He saw his initial effort bravely blocked by Jade Portwood, who stayed down after taking the full force of the shot in the chest, but played raged on and Chaumont’s next effort managed to trickle through Hiadlovsky’s pads and just over the line.

Back came Caps once again and Marcus Zembergs pounced to make it 3-3 during a spell of four-on-four hockey on 34.40 as Flyers’ claims for a high stick were waved away by referee Neil Wilson.

We were set up perfectly for another dramatic Hogmanay showdown in the third period but neither team took the initiative and it seemed we were drifting towards overtime.

That was until Flyers took a costly penalty with five mintues left - Thomas Muir for hooking - and Caps took advantage with Horna completing his hat-trick on the powerplay.

Flyers threw the kitchen sink at Capitals in the closing stages, pulling Regan to go for an extra skater for the last minute, and only desperate defending and goal-tending managed to keep the pick out of the Capitals net during a frantic final 20 seconds.

With this defeat Flyers replaced Capitals at the bottom of the Gardiner Conference. Flyers list of New Year resolutions is sure to be a long one.

Capitals scoring: Horna (3+0) Zembergs (1+0) Portwood (0+3) Hartmann, Dobron (0+2) Leinweber (0+1).

Flyers scoring: Chaumont (2+0) Stewart (1+0) DaCosta (0+2) Fulton, Reber, Horne (0+1).

SOGs: Edinburgh (Hiadlovsky) 26; Flyers (Regan) 30.

PIMs: 16-18

Referee: Neil Wilson