Fife Flyers: ‘‘We can’t sugar coat a result like this ...’

Fife Flyers logo
Fife Flyers logo

Two derby defeats over the festive period, both to Edinburgh Capitals - and both from winning positions. Fife Flyers may yet look back at the Hogmanay period and weep.

Right now they are a team playing with no fire at all, and their play-off hopes are receding as relentlessly as an outgoing tide.

There was no hiding the frustrations of coach Todd Dutiaume as he spoke to the media straight after Saturday’s appalling 3-1 home defeat to Caps.

‘‘Lost for words right now’’ he said, as he reflected on a game that saw Flyers create enough chances to win by six goals, and yet lose through their own mistakes.

And perhaps what stung most was the team which really wanted the win got it.

Caps did nothing fancy, but the longer this game went on at 1-0 - thanks largely to half a dozen top drawer saves from netminder Thomas Hiadlovksy (their MoM although his embarrassing ‘rolling round the ice-pad mortally wounded’ antics after Derek Roehl flew over the top of him with minimal contact were just embarrassing - the more they came into it.

They bided their time and converted the chances Flyers coughed through basic errors and sloppy defensive play.

Chasing a two-goal hockey game and with a powerplay teed up, Flyers pulled netminder Kevin Regan for a six on four offensive. Frankly they could have flooded the ice with the entire bench and not looked any more ramshackle.

It’s a damning indictment of Fife’s night that their sole goal on home ice came at 1:27; Kyle Haines, their MoM, netting from close range.

Flyers ought to have built on that early advantage, particularly on a night when they badly needed the win.

With half an hour gone they still led 1-0, despite some fabulous opportunities to ring the red light; none more so than when Fulton and Reber made a sweeping one-two down the ice only for Fulton to shoot high and wide with the goal at his mercy.

Caps got their game-tying goal through Richard Hartmann at 37:02 and then came the night’s moment of controversy.

With less than 30 seconds of the period remaining, Fulton fell on top of Hiadlovsky’s legs, and defenceman Jan Safar steamed in to protect his goalie.

In doing so he had a clear pop at Fulton more than once as the Flyer was face down on the ice, and continued to try to chuck punches after the stripeys intervened. Quite how he took a double minor for roughing - borderline excessive surely - while Fulton got a triple is surely one of the most inexplicable decisions of the season. Only ref Neil Wilson can answer that, but he got it woefully wrong and should have thrown Safar out of the match.

Going into the third it was evident that Caps were skating more and more in Fife’s zone and catching them on the turn time after time after time - self-enforced basic errors from hockey players who should know better.

Marcus Zemberg fired them ahead at 49:!7, and Martin Cingel applied a killer short-handed third at 54:49 as Flyers atrocious, dithering play was rightly punished. Peter Holecko held the puck as far too many Fife players chased his shadow, and set up Cingel for a clinical finish.

It was, admitted Dutiaume, hard to find any positives from the night, but he accepted: ‘‘We cannot sugar coat this result - that isn’t fair on the fans.’’

The question is where do Fife go from here?

The answers lie on the ice pad and in the dressing-room.