Flyers edged out on ‘Full House Friday’

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That, said Braehead Clan coach Ryan Finnerty, was a heck of a game from both teams - and along the corridor deep within the basement of the arena, his words were echoed by Todd Dutiaume.

Fife Flyers may have lost 4-3 to end a four-game winning streak, but still took plenty from the game.

The score underlined just how closely matched the two sides are, and will be throughout the season

It was a one-goal game until the closing ten minutes, and one that cstill ould have gone either way as both sides carved out great chances only to be denied by some top-drawer netminding.

Flyers welcomed back Matt Reber from injury, and he finished with the MoM award. Defenceman Kyle Horne warmed up but did not ice after the same period out with concussion, but may get some ice time across this weekend’s triple header.

In front of a capacity 3500 crowd - the game was billed as ‘‘Full House Friday’’ - Clan had all the early pressure with the line led by Scott Pitt looking potent.

But, once again, they encountered netminder Kevin Regan in rock-solid form.

When mistakes created openings he came to the rescue - Flyers were guilty of throwing the puck to a Clan stick and of playing themselves into pressure at times during the game.

It was a night when the specialist teams came into their own - five of the seven goals came on the powerplay, and Clan’s were courtesy of the Scott Pitt-Neil Trimm partnership.

Flyers actually got the go-ahead goal at 13:20 as Fitzgerald sat a roughing minor - Ned Lucakevic sweeping the puck home from the right.

Clan replied at 16:”8 with Matt Nickerson sitting for hooking Leigh Salters, and Pitt followed Ned’s move with a one-time shot home from the wing.

There was little between the teams throughout the second period with great chances at either end of the rink, hit goaltending and some solid defensive work along the blue lines.

Clan went ahead at 26:35. Ryan Kavanagh did well to block the puck on the point and keep it in the zone, and when his shot came off Regan, Trim was all alone at the back post. He was never going to miss the target.

Two minutes later Fife were back on level terms as Jamie Milam’s slapshot flew off a stick, and the deflection deceived Jones.

Lukacevic was called for boarding Derek Roehl at 36:30, and, once again, Clan’s specialist team produced their trademark finish as Pitt swept the puck home from the right for 3-2.

Flyers had some golden chances to reply - Reber setting up Fleming at the back post but he couldn’t finish, and then the #22 finding space in the defensive zone as he weaved around players only to move one step too many before shooting, allowing Jones to stand strong.

The home fans were back on their feet at 50:43 as Clan went 4-2 up. Kyle Haines’ pass out of defence was poor and went straight to a Braehead stick. The turnaround was instant, and Tristan Harper’s finish was clinical.

And yet, once again, Flyers responded with a piece of Lukacevic magic producing a shot which completely deceived Jones on the powerplay at 53:13.

As the clock wound down Fife upped the pressure considerably, pulling Regan with 1:!3 to go and playing the rest of the game in Clan’s zone.

Both sides called time outs in the dying seconds, but Fife couldn’t force the GTG that would have taken this game into OT.

Despite the result, head coach Dutiaume was able to reflect on a great game.

‘‘Are we happy we lost by one goal? No - but that was a good hockey game. We have struggled here in the past and tonight it could have gone either way. We both missed chances, at 4-2 down we found a way to get back into the game and we pulled Regs with 1:13 to go to create some great pressure.

‘‘We were right on them but tonight it didn’t drop for us.

‘‘Credit to Braehead as well tonight - they worked really hard.’’

>> Fife Flyers are in Nottingham tonight (Saturday), and then return to home ice on Sunday for the return game against Panthers (6.30 p.m.)