Sunday night isn’t hockey night in Kirkcaldy.
The rink, crowd and team all felt flat until Chris Wands delivered a rare goal to provide the platform for Fife Flyers to rally in the closing minutes.
They were 2-0 down and had been for what felt like an eternity
They’d missed what openings they’d created, and their powerplay had passed up chance after chance across all three periods – but they were still hanging in there against a team shooting for the league title.
Devils really only had to close out this game, but, for reasons best known to themselves they started to take some daft penalties and lose a bit of focus.
Step up Wands.
The most diligent of defencemen – a man who keeps things simple and just gets on with the job minus any frills – skated on to a pass, saw the zone open up and hit the net with a peach of a shot.
At last, after 48 minutes, we had a game, and some much needed noise in the rink, but, despite pulling netminder Shane Owen and swarming round the Cardiff net Fife couldn’t find the goal to take this game into overtime.
But let’s be honest – the better side won.
Devils played smartly and seemed happy well within their comfort zone, created some great chances and really ought to have had the points tucked firmly in their kitbags long before those closing minutes. They could easily have skated to a 4-0 or 5-0 victory and few could have complained.
They went ahead in the tenth minute with the easiest of conversions on the powerplay as a pass fell at the skates of Sean Bentivoglio who simply had to steer the puck into the net from zero distance.
That lead was then doubled courtesy of a howler from Fife netminder Owen.
With his team on the powerplay he tried to stick handle the puck to the side of his net, got himself into one heck of a fankle, and was mugged, allowing Joey Martin to tap in a short handed goal that really wounded.
Fife desperately needed a goal to ignite their game but continued to squander chances, and their powerplays were just dire. Referee Pavel Halas even chucked a few five on threes their way to no effect.
They also scorned two chances in the 29th minute as first Paquet couldn’t convert front of net, and then Thinel went one on one with netminder Bowns only to see him make a huge save.
In the end, it was Wands who opened the door to a late rally with his first goal of the season.
Fife finished strongly, swarming round Cardiff’s net, but, again, it was too little, too late.
They called a time out, pulled Owen, and ended the game doing everything they could to force overtime.
Had they done that across the 60 minutes this game could have had a different outcome.