Four-point weekend for Fife Flyers

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Hard work wins hockey games, and the rewards come no better than a four-point weekend.

They’re even sweeter coming on the back of a couple of losses.

After a solid win over Dundee, Flyers headed across the Forth on Challenge Cup duty and were well worth their 3-2 overtime winners against old rivals Edinburgh Capitals.

They probably should have knocked it off in regulation time, but Paddy Cullen’s sweetly struck winner 3:35 into sudden death was worth the wait.

Caps argued furiously the nets had come before the puck struck the net, but his one-timer from wide on the right on the powerplay was no more than Flyers deserved.

They were defensively strong, winning many, many pucks in their own zone, and created some excellent chances throughout this hockey game.

David Brown was rock solid between the pipes, making clean catches and standing tall under pressure. He was worth the MoM award, although there were a host of candidates - Kyle Haines was immense in defence, Danny Stewart motored all night long, Stephen Gunn sparkled in the third and then second lines as Todd Dutiaume reshuffled his bench followed the early ejection of TJ Caig on a match for boarding Taylor Dickin, while Michael Dorr’s work rate mirrored the ethos that ran the length of the bench.

The penalty killing was top drawer all night long as Flyers specialist team went on the offensive at every opportunity as they closed Caps down and threw a ring of steel around their zone.

Flyers looked solid throughout the opening period, although they went in 1-0 down after Ryan Hayes scrambled home a rebounding puck at 4:47.

Less than two minutes later Flyers saw first line forward TJ Caig thrown out on a match penalty for boarding Taylor Dickin who left the ice with a cloth covering his jaw, but returned to play the next shift and the remainder of the game.

That forced a juggling act with Michael Dorr moving into the first line, Stephen Gunn into the second, and Allan Anderson jumping into the third.

The changes were all quickly absorbed and it took Fife just 36 seconds into the second period to tie the game with slick movement and great execution - Haines moving the puck out of the zone, Ryan Dingle heading goalward and teeing up Jeff Lee for the shot which flicked off Carson Chubak’s stick and into the net; one the goalie will probably want back.

Quick puck movement delivered their second goal in 34 minutes, this time Gunn working hard to get it out of the zone, Cullen taking up the move and Stewart applying the final touch.

Flyers carved out half a dozen chances which could easily have delivered a decisive third, but they looked comfortable closing the game out at 2-1.

Indeed they had all but achieved their task with the third period all but done when Haines took a needless cross checking minor at 56:11 which allowed Riley Emmerson to net an equaliser and take this match into overtime with a point apiece to the teams.

The breakthrough came courtesy of the specialist team after Dorr’s great movement drew a tripping call out of Nate Fleming at 62:28.

Once again they set up the chance, and when Cullen wound up for a one-time strike from wide on the right, there was only going to be one outcome as the puck flew into then net. Caps’ appeal that the nets were off first found no favour with ref Steve Brown.

Todd Dutiaume confirmed forward TJ Caig will face a DOPS review following his match penalty.

The Department of Player Safety automatically checks footage of any match penalty and has the power to increase the automatic one-game ban.

‘‘It’ll be reviewed, and we will make sure we put our case to them,’’ he said.

A four-point weekend was welcomed by the coaching staff.

‘‘After a couple of losses it was important to get back with a couple of wins,’’ said Dutiaume. ‘‘We let a point slip to Caps tonight, but we took four points and that gives us confidence.

‘‘Our penalty kill was great tonight - a five on three for a full two minutes - and we had some great, solid performances out there. The guys are playing the systems well, moving the puck quickly, and, for me, one of the biggest things is our speed out of our zone. That’s really down to our conditioning and work-rate.’’

>> Flyers play Edinburgh Capitals at Fife Ice Arena on Saturday, September 26. Ticket details from the box office or www.fifeflyers.co.uk