There are still some twists and turns to come in the race for the play-offs , but Fife Flyers may yet look back on this 8-3 demolition of Edinburgh Capitals as being a significant moment.
The performance was impressive, the result clinical, and the two points pulled them level with Cardiff Devils, but, more importantly, above them into the prized eighth spot with games in hand as well. Psychologically that may be crucial.
Matt Reber fired a superb hat-trick as Caps crumbled on Kirkcaldy ice.
They were 3-0 down after 15 minutes and although they rallied with two goals in successive shifts early in the second, they found themselves torn to pieces in the middle stanza.
If Reber was unstoppable then line-mate Ned Luckacevic was the maestro, dipping into his bag of tricks to pull off moves which went from the stunning to the audacious and back again; his set up for one of his goals was simply sheer artistry.
The crowd lapped it up, and it underlined how good the atmosphere in the dressing-room is as Flyers zone in on the post-season championships.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach said: ‘‘We’re on form and the guys are not afraid to play any team. Their mindset is good, everyone is positive and it’s a pleasure to come to ‘the office’ every day.... but there are some big games coming up.’’
Dutiaume saw his side take ten minutes to crack a Caps side playing for nothing other than pride, with Reber one-timing home Tim Hartung’s pass from the wing.
The #22 struck again barely 30 seconds later, courtesy of Luckacevic’s stickhandling wizardry, and the roof came off the rink as Josh Scoon crashed the net to turn home Stephen Gunn’s rebound for 3-0 at 15:00.
Dutiaume was delighted for the third liner who has drifted to the margins of the team in terms of ice time in recent weeks.
‘‘Josh is great to coach - he has a great attitude. He has worked so hard to get his spot back on the team and deserved his goal.’’
Caps sprang to life with two goals in back to back shifts early in the second perriod - Jan Safar and Curtis Leinweber were their marksmen - but their comeback was clinically snuffed out as Fife took the period 5-2. By the second buzzer a clearly exasperated netminder Tomas Hiadlovsky was first off the ice, having been hung out to dry by a hopeless defence. Significantly he was also last to return for the third period with all the players ready for the face-off before he departed the sanctuary of the dressing room.
There was little the goalie could do given the lack of protection as Fife threatened to score for fun on every other shift.
Their attacks were swift, the finishing lethal as Fife netted three times within three minutes, and just kept going.
Derek Roehl made it 4-2 after clutching the puck in the air in the neutral zone and simply burning his way into the zone to fire home, Kyle Horne hit number five in off the post, and Reber’s hat-trick brought up the half dozen.
Danny Stewart then snapped a pin-sharp Hartung pass out of thin air and shot home for 7-2, with Justin DaCosta waltzing through for number eight to round off a devastating period of hockey.
It was game over, and gthe third was pretty much a non event save for Michal Benedik’s consolation for Caps, and Hiadlovsky’s big one on one save to deny Chaumont.
Dutiaume admitted his side coasted home, keeping something in the tank for Sunday’s big game in Nottingham with an even more crucial match in Hull on Wednesday.
Win there and the season truly ignites ...