Fife Flyers: 2-0 shut-out at hands of Belfast Giants underlines need for key changes

Fife Flyers’ tough start to the season shows no signs of abating after a shut-out on home ice at the hands of Belfast Giants.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 9:45 am

Friday’s 2-0 defeat simply underlined the need for changes to avoid the club’s return after lockdown sinking without trace just a few weeks after the puck finally dropped.

Flyers have yet to register a win in five starts and, more worryingly, have managed just three goals in 15 periods of hockey.

In front of their lowest crowd thus far - another concerning matter for a gate based club - they encountered a Belfast side that skated hard and fast, and again had netminder Shane Owen to thank for keeping them at bay for so long.

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Netminder Shane Owen in the thick of the action against Belfast Giants (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

The incremental improvements identified by both coach and many fans couldn’t disguise the holes in the line-up or the failings in the performance.

The fans who stayed away could simply have replayed the opening period from the previous meeting of these clubs as Giants again went at Flyers from the start.

Hemmed into their own zone, they toiled to get any semblance of control of the puck, and, skating on the back foot for long shifts, meant they were unable to create any real chances.

There were early warning signs ass Mark Cooper nutmegged James Isaacs to create a fine chance at 2:50, and then the formidable Jordan Boucher came close with a wraparound.

Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

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Fat forward to 5:30 and defenceman Imants Lescovs was caught daydreaming, and stripped of the puck by JJ Piccinich for another shot on Owen..

Cam Knight then took off coast to coast forcing another save - and we’d barely played six minutes.

Faced with that almost relentless pressure, Fife had to capitalise on their few chances. They didn’t.

A long 17th minute pass released James Anderson, but he lifted the puck high above the net, and then Isak Adelgran couldn’t convert in front of the net just before the buzzer.

Giants finally made the breakthrough at 31:13 on a delayed penalty as Cooper sank a loose puck into the net.

Their second, from Jeff Baum just 30 seconds from the buzzer, pretty much sealed this game.

While Flyers penalty kill was good, and they did get more chances - Mike McNicholas slammed a great shot off the post - they never looked like clawing back the deficit.

Owen took the MoM award for the third game in succession - a measure of his own performance, but also an indictment on the guys who skated in front of him.

Flyers travel to play Dundee Stars tonight and then make the long journey to Belfast on Sunday.

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