Fife Flyers made it three wins in a row over Coventry Blaze this season, but they switched off far too soon. Better opposition would have punished them.
The stats will show a final score of 4-3 and two more points in the bag for a Fife side currently riding high in the standings.
But at 4-0 up at the halfway stage the result should have been more convincing, and that wasn’t lost on head coach, Todd Dutiaume, who admitted: ‘’We got away with one tonight.’’
Flyers weren’t at their very best, but they were still well ahead of a shambolic looking Blaze outfit which was perhaps fortunate not to have had two players thrown out after contentious hits on the boards which left players injured.
Ric Jackman’s game was over barely three minutes after the face-off as he was hit high and late by Garrett Klotz. The impact sent him backwards over the boards at the team benches before buckling on to the ice where he was in clear pain, and struggled to get to his skates unaided.
It was a cheap hit, one he was clearly not expecting, and so had no time to brace himself. Klotz was fortunate it wasn’t seen by the officials.
The boos were still pouring on to the ice pad when Ryan Dingle – the stand-out skater of the night – got himself into position front of net to shoot home off Justin Fox’s pass from the backboards.
Russ Moyer made it 2-0 at 14:10 as he pounced on a bouncing puck no-one seemed to want to take control of, and slotted home to the right of the net, and Brendan Brooks’ superb breakout created the two on one breakaway for 3-0 at 15:57 – Matt Sisca carrying the puck and squaring to Carlo Finucci to hit the net.
Frankly, at that stage it was game over.
The gulf in the teams was highlighted at 37:56 as Fife netted their fourth - a beauty of a the match winner - while down to just three skaters.
To lose a goal with a five on three powerplay sums up the real problems facing Coventry right now. It also underlined the vision, speed and skill of its creator, Ryan Dingle.
There was zero danger as the puck rolled deep into Coventry’s zone. The Fife forward chased after it but he was behind two defencemen - two guys who simply didn’t do their jobs.
While they dithered, Dingle scorched to the plexi, seized possession, looked up and saw Phil Paquet easing down the centre of the ice unmarked. The pass was measured to perfection, Paquet’s finish clinical for a rare double short-handed goal.
Blaze grabbed what everyone expected to be a consolation effort at 37:29 as a shot through traffic found the net, with Klotz getting the traffic.
Their comeback rested entirely on two powerplay goals inside 4-0 seconds as Josh Scoon and Moyer took minor penalties.
Barry Almeir’s shot landed at the post and sat perfectly for TJ Syner to tap home. Back to four skaters, Fife then coughed another goal as Josh Godfrey tapped home. With 16 minutes remaining, we suddenly had a game - and Blaze had a possible route back which, had they been on their ‘A’ game they might well have taken.
Fife came under pressure but still had chances to seal the deal, but the main talking point of the closing stages was another check. Paquet put in a power of work down the pad as he chased a puck past players to the plexi where he was nailed badly by Jim Jorgensen. The hit may yet be sent to DOPS for review .
With 1:26 remaining Blaze pulled netminder Stewart but Fife wound the clock down to claim the win.