Flyers’ 20-minute blitz destroys Capitals

Fife Flyers logo large hi-res
Fife Flyers logo large hi-res

Fife Flyers needed just one period of hockey to demolish Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday night to keep their slender play-off hopes alive.

And the manner in which they destroyed Caps in that middle stanza left more than a few exasperated fans wondering aloud ‘‘if only they’d done that more often this season ...’’

Down 1-0 to a sixth-minute powerplay from Jade Portwood, the Fife side that emerged after the first break was switched on and fired up, and delivered five goals from 12 shots; the very sort of returns which have been lacking in too many games throughout the campaign to date.

True, Caps were woeful and only vaguely interested, but this was a must-win game, and Fife delivered, and deserve credit for that.

It started with an early goal; always good to steady any team.

At 21:57 Matt Nickerson moved off the blue line to collect Danny Stewart’s pass from the back boards, dropped a shoulder to make the space and then drilled the puck past an unprotected Hiadlovsky.

Jordan Fulton then came close on a lightning break while penalty killing as he jumped ahead of two defencemen and charged the net only to see netminder Hiadlovksy stand up to him.

Back to full strength, Fife struck again and this game turned. Derek Roehl was perfectly placed to bag the rebound off a shot at 26:55, and it was 3-1 just three minutes later as Caps crumbled under more pressure, with Stewart wasting no time rifling a one-time shot into the net.

The much derided powerplay unit then delivered back to back strikes to effectively kill the game before the second break.

Roehl got both of them - the fourth was given to Horne but then changed afterwards - at 32:22 and 38:29, the first also sparking an outburst from the netminder who got a ten-minute misconduct by way of a reward from referee Alan Craig.

Caps’ player-cooach also incurred the wrath of the referee as he clearly tripped Roehl for a minor penalty and then reacted to the crowd behind the sin bin, adding a ten-minute misconduct to his spell on the sidelines.

By then Caps were in as many bits as a 1000-piece jigsaw, and there was no way back.

Flyers used the third period to ice some of their fringe players, and closed out the game with no problems at all.

The result - and performance - delighted head coach Todd Dutiaume after a 4-1 loss in Hull on Saturday; a scoreline inflated by the loss of two late ENGs.

‘‘We were bitterly disappointed by that loss,’’ he said. ‘‘We told the guys they had to lay it on the line tonight, and period one was a good indicator of the team in many ways. We played well, did all the right things and still came out 1-0 down.

‘’We spoke about it during the break and the same guys playing the same systems lit a spark and we were 5-1 up. We controlled the game.’’

Dutiaume was also pleased with the attitude along the bench as he iced players who have drifted to the edges of his plans in recent weeks.

‘‘We said to the guys we were going to give some ice time to guys who have been on the bench or who have lost their regular spot, and it was good to see them being cheered on and supported.

‘‘We have struggled at times this year but tonight we pulled together as a team, and the win will do the guys a world of good.’’

Flyers return to Hull on Wednesday night and then are in Belfast on Saturday.