Fife Flyers 5 Dundee Stars 3
Fife Flyers rediscovered their scoring touch, and the entertainment factor, in a 5-3 win over Dundee Stars last night.
In a big difference to recent stale, low-scoring affairs, a determined and focused Flyers side carried a constant goal threat throughout a much more physical and forceful attacking display.
The fore-checking was much improved - many pucks were turned over in the Stars zone - while there was a real emphasis on net presence with traffic in and around the Stars net all night.
It was the type of all-round team performance that the fans, and head coach Todd Dutiaume, expect every week.
“I don’t want to get carried away because that’s how we should be playing night in, night out,” Dutiaume said.
“We addressed our lack of offence throughout the week in training with individual players and it was nice to see them respond.
“We leaked a few goals at the end, but for the most part, it was a good team performance.”
Flyers looked a little tentative in the opening 10 minutes and relied on netminder David Brown to make some key saves, in particular when he shuffled across his line with impressive speed to prevent Lou Dickenson at the back post.
But once the home side got the opening goal, and the confidence started to flow, there was only going to be one winner.
Flyers were handed three powerplay opportunities in the opening period and it was a case of third time lucky on 12.12 as Michael Dorr swept home from close range after Paddy Cullen showed great persistence to create the chance.
Flyers second goal on 15.12 was down to chasing lost causes as Jeff Lee and Tommy Muir fought brilliantly to keep an attack alive before Danny Stewart supplied a quality finish, shooting home on the turn from the high slot.
After his busy opening Brown had been a virtual spectator in the second half of the first period, and Flyers continued to dominate at the start of period two.
The third goal duly arrived on 34.55 as Dorr was alert to a rebound, and then danced behind the net with speed to score a wraparound effort that left goalie Vlastimil Lakosil in a spin.
A team is often at its most vulnerable just after scoring and so it proved as a Flyers defence that had been tight most of the night parted like the Red Sea just 20 seconds later for Curtis Leinweber to score.
There was a scare for Stars netminder Lakosil before the end of the second period as a Ryan Dingle howitzer knocked his helmet clean off his head, but after a quick check-over from the doctor, the dazed Czech was fit to continue.
Flyers restored their three-goal advantage during a two-on-one break on 38.42 as Justin Fox skated onto TJ Caig’s perfect pass to send an emphatic finish into the roof of the net.
Flyers looked to finish Stars off at the start of period three as Shayne Stockton weaved inside from the wing then rattled the post.
There was an injury scare for Fox as he clattered the boards at speed after a shove from Kevin Hart, which went unpunished by referee Toby Craig. Thankfully the Flyer appeared to just be winded and after taking a minute to get back to his feet, he was back on the ice for the next shift.
A fifth goal would all but seal the deal and it arrived on 50.32 as defenceman Phil Paquet bagged his second goal of the season with a slapshot that nestled in the top corner past an unsighted Lakosil.
After dominating for so long, Flyers got complacent in the final 10 minutes and Kevin Hart’s deflected slapshot pulled Dundee back to 5-2 on 51.32, before Dickenson’s last minute solo effort ended the game 5-3, a scoreline that slightly flattered Dundee.
If Flyers produce more regular performances like this, they will give themselves a chance of winning more than they will lose, starting with tonight’s trip south to face Sheffield Steelers.