Two late, late goals gave Fife Flyers victory in a pulsating play-off first leg tie against Braehead Clan.
They now take a crucial, but slender 2-1 lead into Braehead tomorrow night where it’s winner takes all and a place in the championship finals weekend.
Flyers’ relentless pressure saw them create chance after chance only to run into a towering netminder in Chris Holt who stood defiant until the final 90 seconds.
Marcus Goetz 19th minute powerplay looked like settling the issue until Flyers got a surge of energy with a 58th equaliser courtesy of Alex Leavitt’s silly interference call to set up a powerplay. Holt blocked a shot, and amid the mayhem Ryan Dingle somehow found time and space to net.
And then with just 13 seconds remaining, Kyle Haines moved on the left, took a pass sand simply drilled home a thundering shot to spark a wall of noise from the home fans.
Clan coach Ryan Finnerty was a furious man as he walked across the ice, and his verbal volley at the referees saw him huckled down the tunnel.
This tie has still got so much to give ... Braehead tomorrow promises to be an epic winner takes all affair.
Flyers again ran into a rock called Chris Holt, unable to capitalise on an early injury scare with saw the Clan netminder down on the ice and in need of treatment in the opening minute of the period.
They had chances - but the puck, so far, just hasn’t fallen for them.
Clan also had their moments as they too pressurised Fife’s defence as the period unfolded, but they will go into the break happy with their lead and the performance so far - the conference champions have set Fife a target and look very solid even on a 1-0 lead in this first leg play-off tie.
The difference between the sides perhaps best summed up at 30 minutes as Dorr’s Flick off Holt saw the goal open up for Kyle Haines. Scott Aarssen got a piece of stick to his shot, and the puck flew wide.
The gap between success and failure tonight could well be that close...
>> Pre-game / period One
The great Scottish rivals go head to head this weekend with the prize of a place at the championship finals weekend in Nottingham on offer.
The game rekindled memories of the clubs’ incredible match-ups two seasons ago played out in front of a series of capacity crowds,
The ‘house full’ signs are out in force this weekend as the season ends on the highest possible note with 3000 fans at the Gallatown rink tonight and even more filling the Braehead Arena tomorrow - attendances many senior Scottish football club would love to report on a regular basis.
Rinkside was packed even before the teams came out for their warm-ups with fans adding their own flags and posters around the railings.
Clan included defenceman Ric Jackman in their roster even although he has a broken foot, and they were minus the injured Brendan Brooks. Flyers made Jeff Lee their healthy scratch from a team which was at full strength.
The opening period was pulsating, with Flyers applying relentless pressure and creating chance after chance only to be stoned by Clan netminder Chris Holt.
He more than earned his corn in the opening few minutes alone as he kept the home side at bay as the action flowed in his direction every shift.
The opening minutes passed without any penalties before the two stripeys called three inside 60 seconds as a few players got frustrated and some verbals were seen on the ice, and on the bench.
The pressure from Fife was relentless, but one stunning save from Holt summed up the period. On the power play, Haines let fly from the point, and Michael Dorr’s tip was sublime, matched only by Holt’s pad stop at the near post.
Haines and Jamie Fritsch then sat five for fighting as they clashed in Clan’s zone, and that powerplay - Caig went for slashing at the same time - gave Braehead the opening.
Matt Keith set up the goal with a pass to the back door where Goetz turned the puck home.
Flyers outshot Clan 19-12 but the only stat that matters - the scoreboard - has then 1-0 down.
Third period report to follow
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