Two short-handed goals in a hectic four-minute spell in the third period sealed this Hogmanay game for Fife Flyers.
It was their third win in a row, but it wasn’t one that impressed head coach, Todd Dutiaume.
‘We won a game we should have lost,’’ he said after the final buzzer.
He wasn’t pleased with the performance, and is looking for his players to step up when Braehead Clan first foot Fife Ice Arena on January 2 – a match that could well pull in a capacity crowd to spark an electric atmosphere.
Flyers took a huge support across the Forth – it was good to see the Murrayfield rink so busy – and the fans enjoyed the derby bragging rights.
A double from Carlo Finnuci had then 2-0 up inside ten minutes before Ian Schultz opened Caps’ account in 15 minutes.
With starting netminder Travis Fullerton sidelined, Caps iced teenage rookie Jordan McLaughlin, and while his experienced blue liners worked hard to give him as much protection as possible, they were caught napping 23 seconds into the second period; Flyers forced another turnover, and Ryan Dingle flipped the puck home for 3-1.
As always, Caps looked dangerous as they swarmed round Fife’s net – Shane Owen’s rock solid game was a key factor in keeping them at bay – and it was no surprise when Matt Tipoff followed up to net on the half hour mark.
That goal came just seconds after a big hit by Michael Dobron put Chase Schaber into the plexi and out of the game. It could be one for DOPS to assess.
In the next shift, Russ Moyer had to be helped off the ice after another big hit as the intensity levels started to rise, and the period ended with Kyle Haines and Schultz stick fencing, Brendan Brooks reacting a hit on the buzzer from Tipoff, and Tommy Muir and Schultz all exchanging words.
In a one-goal hockey game there was little margin to drop the gloves and damage your own team with a major penalty, so it calmed down in the third.
Flyers held their slender lead, and finally cracked the game open while short handed.
Finucci made a neat play, chipping the puck off the boards to send Brendan Brooks scorching down the pad, and his finish was clinical for 4-2 with 44 minutes gone,
When Fife were penalised again, Dingle took off down the right, and threw the puck to the back post for Fox to turn home.
Jacob Johnstone cut the deficit to 6-3 with a rasping shot, but Dingle’s second of the game after 54 minutes ensured there was no late grandstand finish.
‘‘We made it tough for ourselves out there,’’ said Dutiaume. ‘‘That’s three wins in a row and other results went our way so that’s a good outcome, but this game was there for Caps to win.’’