Fife Flyers: broken finger for defenceman on eve of key Christmas schedule

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Fife Flyers head into their festive schedules with the buzz of a big win over Cardiff Devils - and the Ne’er arrival of a new defenceman, but another injury worry to test their roster.

Stephen Desrocher sustained a broken finger in the very last shift of the 4-1 win over Cardiff Devils on Sunday night.

The injury is the latest in a series which have tested the depth of the bench to its limits- key forward Collin Shirley also took a knock in training - but with a new import blue liner en route, coach Tom Coolen is hoping they will dig deep in a busy schedule of six games in ten days between now and Hogmanay.

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Sunday’s victory halted an eight-game losing streak. Tom Coolen, head coach, also took heart from a hugely improved performance in a road loss at Sheffield on Saturday, and is looking ahead to the second half of the league campaign.

James Spence impressed many fans with his performance in Sunday's win over Cardiff Devils (Pic: Derek Young)James Spence impressed many fans with his performance in Sunday's win over Cardiff Devils (Pic: Derek Young)
James Spence impressed many fans with his performance in Sunday's win over Cardiff Devils (Pic: Derek Young)

Flyers start their Christmas campaign with a game in Belfast on Friday night. The team travelled across on Thursday for the first time this season - previously it has driven and sailed on the day - and Coolen hopes the extra time will allow them to prepare properly. Forward Johan Erikkson is expected to return this weekend, while team captain Jonas Emmerdahl will again step up after his return from injury.

The big Swede’s return was one factor in Sunday’s win, Coolen said: “He was able to spell guys off at the back end, and gave guys time for recovery between shifts. That made a world of difference.”Without Emmerdahl, Flyers were down to four defenceman - a huge ask going up against teams rolling four lines. Flyers return to Kirkcaldy on Saturday to face Giants for the second night running. The team then has a short Christmas break before lacing up again for a Boxing Day game at Fife Ice Arena against Dundee Stars, with the return across the Tay on Wednesday, December 27th.

Saturday’s game will also feature the club’s Christmas jerseys - they will be auctioned off after the buzzer - and the annual CHAS appeal.

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The festive schedule rolls into the end of the year with a December 30 trip Braehead to face Glasgow Clan, and a return game in Fife on Hogmanay.

Coolen’s Christmas present wish is for a healthy team in 2024: “Our biggest problem has been injuries. They have been tough - and when you have so many games there is little recovery time. Fatigue is a major cause of injury.”

He has a highly experienced replacement for Reece Harsch lined up and ready to arrive - contract paperwork was being sorted this week, but the new blue liner won’t be in town until after January 1.

“When we get everyone back healthy and a new guy in we will be more solid at the back,” said the coach. “We played well over the weekend, and against Cardiff I felt we found something as a team - we wanted the win and we needed the win, and the guys enjoyed it.”

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