Flyers go second top with shut out of Devils

Fife Flyers v Cardiff Devils (PIc: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers v Cardiff Devils (PIc: Steve Gunn)

A fine 4-0 win over a tired Cardiff Devils saw Fife Flyers move into second position in the league on Sunday night.

Fine performances in the first and third periods underpinned the win as the Welsh skaters found the tank empty after playing three games in three nights on their Scottish visit.

Netminder Shane Owen celebrated a 37-shot shut out which saw him stand firm as Devils piled on the pressure in the middle stanza - one in which Fife got more than their share of bounces, lived on their wits at times, but, crucially, emerged without conceding.

Had Devils found a way past Owen, the end result might have been different, but Flyers re-grouped in the second break, and got back on to their ‘A’ game in the final 20 minutes, with two goals inside 40 seconds sealing a win that hoisted them into second spot.

Todd Dutiaume, head coach, hailed the opening period as the best his side had played on home ice this season, adding: ‘’There were no system or personnel changes - the difference was we were committed to this hockey game.’’

He wants that to be the baseline for each weekend to keep Flyers riding high in the standings, but fans are still keen to see the team strengthened - and the best time to do that is when it is winning.

Flyers had big performances out of key players against Devils - Brendan Brooks drove his line all night long, Phil Paquet and Ric Jackman were impressive in defence, while Brits Josh Scoon and Chris Wands pitched in with some solid shifts.

They went ahead at 9:51 on the power play after Andrew Lord took a dumb charging penalty. Carlo Finucci threw the puck into a busy crease, and Brooks reacted first to net as he tumbled over a defenceman.

Devils were ragged throughout that opening period as Fife took the game to them.

The tables were turned in the second period - the visitors turned up the pressure, and Fife had to wing it to clear their own zone more than once, but, crucially, they held out; Andrew Hotham coming closest to opening the scoring with a shot which flew off the outside of the post.

The vital second goal came at 44:48 as they finally broke out of their own zone, and Chase Schaber headed down the left, and picked his spot with a shot which flew past a static netminder, Ben Bowns.

That gave Flyers the foundations to build on in the third period where they got back into a groove and started to exploit Cardiff’s heavy legs.

With the clock winding down they delivered a killer third at 56:28 - the puck flew round the zone, Jackman pinged it back in, and Finucci got the touch for 3-0.

Devils’ last card was to pull Bowns, but it backfired barely 40 seconds later as Justin Fox, wide on the left, hit the empty net from distance.