Flyers take heart from big win over Giants

Fife Flyers logo large hi-res
Fife Flyers logo large hi-res

In Rockies Bar next door to the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Saturday’s post-game inquests were conducted over a beer.

Two clear themes were expounded - how disappointingly poor Fife Flyers had been in the Northern Irish city, but also how they still fancied them for a Sunday win when both teams travelled across the Irish Sea for game two of the double header. The conundrum at the heart of Flyers; a team that can enthrall and infuriate within 24 hours.

Flyers did it the hard way - and in more than one way.

An hour after a pretty meek 5-2 capitulation in Belfast they were on the ferry to sail home and then begin the tedious, never ending road journey up from Stranraer, getting home at 5.00 a.m. on Sunday.

Giants, meanwhile, slept sound, made the short journey to George Best International Airport and flew into Edinburgh - a journey that sees you in the air for barely 30 minutes.

Of course Flyers took it to the wire, winning 5-4 after 60 minutes, four on four sudden death and into penalty shots.

More importantly they played with grit and passion, forced the game, and more than held their own against a slick, hugely impressive and highly professional Belfast side that had bossed them across at the Odyssey.

All level after one period, they lost a goal in the dying seconds of the second period to fall 4-3 behind at the buzzer, but, crucially, rallied with a quick response at the start of the third as Ned Lukacevic let rip with a screamer.

The mercurial second line forward was in his element - back in the role of match winning magician who can unlock defences with his twists, turns and dexterity.
His A’ game electrified a noisy rink even while Giants made the most determined effort possible to kill this game within regulation time.

Fife held out and held on for four on four overtime which simply flew past, heralding the inevitable penalty shoot out.

Kevin Regan did what he always does - he stoned all three of Giants’ takers.

At the other up stepped Lukacevic.

He makes this look easy, almost casually wandering round the zone with the puck on his stick before glancing up and picking his spot with a backhand flick.

He made no mistake, and when Lloyd’s flick landed straight in Regan’s catching glove, it was game over, job done.

There’s no doubt Fife needed the win. The challenge now is to make one win become a winning sequence, and create the momentum necessary to make play-off dreams come alive.

If you can win after a 5.00 a.m. sea and road trip then you can win anywhere.

It just takes hard work and commitment.

Todd Dutiaume summed it up perfectly.

‘‘We had a heartbeat tonight.’’