Flyers get wake-up call from impressive Giants

Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants (Pic: Steve Gunn)

There was no hiding the disappointment in the Fife dressing-room after this one-sided hockey game.

Belfast came to town rejuvenated and back in the title race - and simply swept Flyers aside.

They outshot them four to one, outworked them and played with a tempo Fife simply couldn’t match.

And yet they hung on to their coat-tails - 1-0 down after one, 2-0 after two, and then making this a one goal hockey game early in the third.

Given that scenario, you cannot pass up six of the seven powerplays which come your way.

In truth, Flyers got off lightly at 4-1 on a night when the team just didn’t get into its groove at all. Thirteen shots says it all.

Flyers lived a charmed life in a first period played out heavily in their own zone - just 90 seconds were left when Mike Fornay waltzed through the D and ripped home a low wrist shot on a powerplay.

Giants needed just 56 seconds of period two to double their lead as Kris Beech netted.

Flyers upped their game in the middle session , and had some chances, but Giants’ defence was always on top - pushing them to the margins and snuffing out any danger in their zone.

Justin Fox had a great early opportunity but couldn’t finish from a Sachetti set-up, but the goal Fife needed never materialised - it’s kinda hard to find the net off just four shots anyway.

The breakthrough did come early in third - 1:21 into it as Fife’s powerplay unit finally delivered. Nic Rioux’s shot from the blue line went into traffic, and Michael Dorr got a touch past Stephen Murphy.

Hopes of a late change in fortunes lasted all of three minutes before Kyle Horne was binned on the softest of holding calls, and Giants’ powerplay unit made it 3-1 through beech.

Fast forward five minutes and it was four - and game over - as Mike Radja netted a smashing goal at the near post.

As road games go, this was pretty much text book.

Giants silenced the near 1800 crowd - an excellent turn out for a midweek game - from the very start, dominated the play, and looked like a side with an eye on the prize.

In doing so, they ended Flyers’ own winning streak - so the club has to start afresh.

The teams meet in Belfast in a double header soon - Flyers need to absorb the lessons of this defeat to ensure they stand a chance of coming back with some points.

They too have a lot to play for, so this has to be a one-off after a sparkling run.

Head coach, Todd Dutiaume, accepted his side were second best on the night.

‘‘Some results you deserve, some you grind out - but that wasn’t the case tonight,’’ he said.

‘‘This is the same hockey club which came out against Cardiff and deservedly won, but tonight we were disappointing.

‘‘Belfast looked like a team that wanted back into the title race. That was one of the most solid performances we have seen in this building this season. They were all over us.

‘@Any time you get outshot four to one in your own building, and go 1/7 on the PP, you won’t win the game.’’

Dutiaume admitted they missed the buzz and leadership of injured Danny Stewart - he hopes to have him back in the line-up for the weekend - and he wants an instant response from his team as they travel to Sheffield and then Manchester with a possible conference title on the line.

;’’We’ll have a huge travelling support, and that is great,’’ he said. ‘‘We have to find a way to claw that performance back this weekend.

‘‘We need points to secure our play-off place and for the conference e title. This is a huge weekend.’’