Fife Flyers: 2024 'a fresh start' for team in push for play-offs

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Fife Flyers’ first home game of 2024 will mark the start of a new season vowed coach Tom Coolen - and he should also have his a new import defenceman in the line-up.

He hailed the 7-4 Hogmanay win over Glasgow Clan as a turning point which brought the shutters down on a tough December, and set the team up for the key run-in which kickstarts with a Saturday travel to Belfast Giants, and a home game against Nottingham Panthers on Sunday.

The fans will get to see new netminder Kevin Lindsjoug in action for the first time as he steps in to cover for the injured Shane Owen - and he is keeping everything crossed that the new blueliner will also have clearance to skate.

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The vastly experienced player was due to arrive in Kirkcaldy on Wednesday with an announcement anticipated as soon as all paperwork was in place; the club mindful of the delays which hit Lindsjoug last weekend before releasing his name and career details.

Tom Coolen has new faces on the bench and a chance to re-set Flyers' season (Pic: Derek Young)Tom Coolen has new faces on the bench and a chance to re-set Flyers' season (Pic: Derek Young)
Tom Coolen has new faces on the bench and a chance to re-set Flyers' season (Pic: Derek Young)

Coolen, however, is confident, the player will enhance the line-up at the right time as he looks ahead to a push through the second half of the season to one of the eight play-off berths on offer. Flyers have previously brought in players at this time and ignited their campaigns, and Coolen is hoping to see that happen again.

The team are currently tenth and their challengers all have games in hand, but the league is so tight the placings could easily reverse on the back of a winning run.

With the addition of feisty forward Drake Pilon, who made an instant impact on his debut against Clan, Coolen is now back in the position of choosing a healthy scratch. If all goes to plan, he will have ten import forwards and five defencemen.

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"I’ll have to decide who sits out - that may be a rotation of five or six guys,” he said. "Every team needs a mix of certain pieces to make a picture – hitters, grafters, scorers and thinkers. Everyone seemed to like Pilon – he gave us a spark, and was fun to watch. he is also a good skater and feisty. He added a lot to our line-up.”

The coach will go with Lindsjoug in the nets for the weekend action, backed up by Andy Little who earned his spurs with a series of solid displays after being thrown into the deep end.

The Hogmanay win which lit up the rink is the spark Coolen wanted.

“It’s the start of a new season for us,” he said. “We start from scratch. “We are still in the mix, and if we do things the right way, we can start to move.”

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Flyers cross the Irish Sea to face a Giants side struggling on home ice and under growing pressure from its fanbase after a series of painful losses. Panthers make their first visit of the season to Kirkcaldy on Sunday after the scheduled earlier meeting was postponed following the tragic death of defenceman, Adam Johnson.