Flyers avoid weekend whitewash with dramatic comeback in Coventry

Fife Flyers forward Danick Gauthier (centre) celebrates scoring the overtime winner against Coventry Blaze. Pic: Scott Wiggins
Fife Flyers forward Danick Gauthier (centre) celebrates scoring the overtime winner against Coventry Blaze. Pic: Scott Wiggins

Coventry Blaze 5 Fife Flyers 6 (OT)

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume admitted he was a relieved man after watching his team fight back to claim a dramatic overtime victory in Coventry last night.

Following agonising one-goal defeats to Belfast Giants and Manchester Storm over Friday and Saturday, Flyers were staring down the barrel of a potentially momentum-jarring, zero point weekend when they fell 4-2 behind to Danny Stewart's Blaze side after two periods.

However, the Fifers showed why they are second in the standings, digging deep to produce a stirring third period comeback, firing three unanswered goals to move 5-4 up, only for Blaze to tie the game with four seconds remaining, sending the contest into overtime, where a Danick Gauthier strike sealed the two points for the visitors.

"We're pleased and a little relieved," Dutiaume said.

"You get on that string of losing one goal games, and we found ourselves down going into the third against a very formidable Coventry team.

"This is one of the best teams Danny has put together and it looked a long way to catch up, but the boys did.

"It almost slipped away from us at the end, but we were fortunate enough to grab the two points tonight."

While Fife remain in a strong position in the EIHL, just two points behind league leaders Belfast Giants, Dutiaume admitted that his team are making things harder for themselves having fallen behind on 12 occasions this season.

"It's a trend for us where we seem to be more motivated by being a goal down," he said.

"It's something we're working on as a group but they managed to find a way.

"Dramatic or not, we needed the two points."

Looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats, Flyers took the lead on 13.57 through Joe Basaraba, but a stunning strike from Alex Nikiforuk brought the home side level less than four minutes later and saw the first period finish level at 1-1.

Norwegian defenceman Nicolai Bryhnisveen put the Blaze ahead in the second period (24.14) but the lead lasted less than a minute before Bari McKenzie brought the Flyers level.

Then two goals in less than two minutes from Ben Lake (32.43) and Kelin Ainsworth (34.18) saw the Blaze take a 4-2 lead into the second period break.

Flyers narrowed the lead to one through Marcus Basara on 46.47 and with Blaze assistant coach Kevin Noble picking up a five plus game penalty for checking to the head, Fife got back on level terms on the extended powerplay when Basaraba scored his second of the night (53.05).

Dutiaume's men then took the lead through Paul Crowder with just under three minutes remaining, the goal awarded after a video review by referee's Dean Smith and Adam Hands.

With Blaze pulling Wiikman for the extra attacker, defenceman Hache leveled things up with just four seconds remaining and sent the game into overtime.

However, Gauthier sent the travelling Fife fans wild with a 5-6 winner for the Kirkcaldy side just 18 seconds into the extra period.