Flyers cruise as Storm's discipline fragments
There is nothing Fife Flyers fans like more than a team coming to Kirkcaldy and losing its rag.
And they will drill deep into cracks in their discipline until the red mist finally descends.
Manchester Storm played straight into the hands of this festive crowd with their ragged style of play which rather backfired as Jay Rosehill was thrown out after just 14 minutes, exiting with a stick-smashing, board-punching tantrum that just brought more derision from the stands.
His attempt at retribution on James Isaacs for a hit behind the play – it was a bit late but it was shoulder to shoulder – saw him follow with a high check and, when it was clear his night was over, he hammered his stick into the ice before thundering his gloves into the boards.
For that his slashing minor became a five-plus game unsportsmanlike misconduct and a game penalty which will almost certainly see him handed further punishment by DOPS. Not the place to be on the back of last week’s suspension ...
Rosehill went when Storm were rocking and simply unable to halt the pressure from a Fife side which played smart hockey all night long.
By the time they regained their composure and got back into a groove – and they did in the third, outshooting Fife 15-10 and making some decent chances – the game over lights were flashing brightly.
The win gave pushed Fife into fourth spot with games in hand, and, more importantly, it added more strength to the case that they are the team to watch closely in the second half of the season.
The team skated superbly across numerous shifts, carved out some delicious chances, and their pressure on the powerplay was, at times, utterly suffocating. On any other night six could have been a dozen goals.
They were 3-0 up at the end of the first and had the game in their pockets thanks to goals from Ricards Birzins against his old team, Evan Bloodoff and Carlo Finucci.
The second period saw them outshoot Storm 20-7 – a stat which says everything about the direction of play in that middle session - and raise the gap to five goals; Peter LeBlanc sweeping home from a tight angle for four, and Ian Young rifling home from the blue line for five.
Storm certainly ad chances – they gave Andy Iles his fair share of rubber at times – but they were handicapped by their own disciplinary shortcomings as they took some ultra dumb penalties, and handed Fife five powerplay goals.
Storm’s own opening goal, after 41 long minutes, was certainly a work of beauty as Luke Moffat did incredibly well to snap on to a thundering pass out of defence, and skate solo for a fine short-handed strike, for 5-1, but Flyers responded within 60 seconds to ensure there was no way back.
Shayne Stockton made it six at 42:07 with McKinney grabbing a late consolation.
The 1700 fans headed home happy, and relishing Saturday’s big showdown with Braehead Clan – a match which could hold the key to Fife’s conference aspirations
There is much to look forward to in 2018 ...