Fife Flyers 5 Dundee Stars 2
After last week’s defeat to Braehead Clan, another big crowd descended on Fife Ice Arena to see what kind of response Fife Flyers could produce against Dundee Stars.
A 5-2 victory, and two big Challenge Cup points was exactly the response that was required, and it was no less than Flyers deserved for a hard-working, solid team performance.
After a slow first period where, like boxers in the opening round, the rival teams appeared to be holding back as they sized each other up in their first meeting of the season.
Flyers threw the first big punch at the start of period two to seize the initiative and from then on, they were always too strong for the plucky Taysiders.
Flyers head coach, Todd Dutiaume, recognised the importance of the victory.
“It was crucial the guys responded the way they did,” he said.
“I set a task for them on Monday to raise the level of our training sessions and they came out and had a very busy but productive week. Certainly we saw a lot of positives things tonight.”
The first period failed to produce excitement for the 2265 crowd. Flyers goalie David Brown made a couple of decent saves among the five attempts Stars mustered, but Vlastimik Lakosil was barely tested facing only four Flyers shots.
The game opened up in the second period and Flyers upped the tempo.
Shayne Stockton broke the deadlock just 59 seconds after the restart, lifting the puck past Lakosil as the goalie kicked the nets off. After a slight hesitation, ref Alan Craig awarded the goal, despite Dundee protests.
Stars hit back quickly, levelling just over a minute later as Kevin Hart was afforded too much space in the Fife zone and he picked his spot, firing into the net via the post.
Flyers regained the lead, and the momentum on 23.34 with a well worked goal as TJ Caig sped down the right wing and picked out Jeff Lee in the centre, who fired past the diving Lakosil.
Caig opened his account for the season on 31.04 to put daylight between the teams with a real poacher’s finish as the veteran forward was able to sniff out a rebound from a Nicolas Rioux shot in a heavily crowded crease.
Stars were fading but a powerplay goal from Doug Clarkson during a Stephen Gunn 2+2 penalty for accidental high sticks brought them back into the game on 34.47.
There was no panic from Flyers though as the team stuck to the game plan and restored the two-goal lead on 36.59 with a truly special finish from Paddy Cullen, as he cracked a 100 mph one-timer past Lakosil that surely took the paint off the crossbar on its way into the net.
Going into the third period the next goal would be crucial - Stars score and it’s back to 4-3 and game on, Flyers score and it’s 5-2 and game over.
It was Flyers who got it on 49.14 as Lee’s pinpoint pass put the puck on a plate for Ryan Dingle to finish from close range. Five goals and a fifth different scorer - a spread that is becoming a feature of this Flyers side.
In the closing minutes, Doug Clarkson and Matt Delahey dropped the gloves for a fight that was over quickly - perhaps those two will be back for more when the team’s next clash.