Derby win & Fife Flyers grab fifth spot

Fife Flyers celebrate a goal (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers celebrate a goal (Pic: Steve Gunn)

A four-point weekend would have been perfect, but the three points Fife Flyers took, coupled with results elsewhere, still saw the sands shift in the league and conference.

A 4-3 win over Edinburgh Capitals saw Flyers make the leap over Braehead Clan into fifth – a clear two-point gap with three games in hand.

And in the conference, the gap between the two is down to six points.

The progress was achieved playing short-benched yet again – Fife could count on one han the number of timess they have faced-off at full strength this season – with team leader Ryan Dingle, and defenceman Ric Jackman both out injured.

Flyers built up leads of 2-0 and 3-1 against Caps, but, once again, the city side showed its tenacity with a strong finish to make this a one-goal hockey game as the clock wound down.

The biggest difference between the teams on the night was a man called Shane Owen.

The netminder was significantly busier than Travis Fullerton at the other end of the pad, but he stood strong all night long. It was no surprise to see him skate off with the MoM award.

Flyers were outshot two to one in a goal-less opening period in which the main talking point was a goal-that-wasn’t.

At 18:40, Fife broke quickly, and Matt Sisca went one on one with the goalie. He pulled the trigger for a wicked shot which flew past Fullerton, nicked the bar and landed on the ice. Sisca celebrated – as any good forward would – but the linesman up with play immediately signalled no goal as the puck hadn’t crossed the line.

The second period saw Flyers outshot 19-7, but they still found gaps as Caps surged forward, and they broke the deadlock at 22:30 as Sisca surged forward once more.

Bryan Hamilton trailed him, grabbed the puck and played a perfect pass left to Russ Moyer who drilled a shot deep into the net.

Ian Schultz set up Caps with a glorious move through centre ice, easing down the pad to set up Wilgosh who couldn’t beat Owen at the near post.

Caps then lost Sean Beattie as he was taken out by a hit just as Michael Dobron was thrown out on a match penalty for slew footing – that will almost certainly invite additional punishment as he returns to face a DOPS hearing.

In the heat of a tousy spell, Flyers went 2-0 up at 32:24 with a Justin Fox powerplay goal only for Schultz – Caps’ stand-out player – to cut the gap before the buzzer.

The importance of the next goal was clearly underlined as Fife grabbed it just 29 seconds into the third period. Brooks ghosted past a player to set up Fox, and while he couldn’t finish, the puck was kept live, and Chase Schaber founds himself with a simple tap-in to blow this game wide open.

Schultz again responded for Caps at 55:28 only for Fife to respond immediately. Sebastien Thinel made the pass as he anticipated the hit on the plexi, and that set up Carlo Finucci to light the lamp with a superb shot.

Caps pulled their netminder for a do-or-die finale in which Yevgeni Fyodorov founds the net to make it 4-3, but Fife saw the game out for a win that could be one of the turning points of their season.

‘‘We’re back in sole possession of fifth place,’’ said coach Todd Dutiaume. ‘‘We have a huge game against Manchester coming up and if we win that then the conference is back on.’’