Fife Flyers chalk up fourth home win in row with victory over Coventry Blaze
Fife Flyers made it four home wins in a row with a fine 6-2 demolition of Coventry Blaze on Saturday night.
They had to come from behind, but once they got the go-ahead goal, they gained in confidence, and played with some style - and the more they controlled the game, the more Blaze’s challenge disintegrated.
While the club continues its bid to bring in re-enforcements, and waits on Chase Schaber to make his debut - one month and counting since signing with the club remaining silent on the reason why - the guys on the ice are gelling and clearly having fun.
Michael McNicholas took the ‘man of the match’ award as much for his sparkling performance as his two goals, but there were some big contributions across the bench.
Netminder Shane Owen delivered the big saves when it mattered, Matt Carter continued his emergence as a team leader, and Jonas Emmerdahl has added an offensive role to his game which is making its mark.
Bari McKenzie put in a power of work either side of a wayward stick which sent him to the dressing room for some repairs, and Richard Krogh is beginning to emerge after a quiet start to the season.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, was more than happy with what he saw against Blaze as the powerplay delivered and the players skated well.
His counterpart, former sidekick Danny Stewart, was less than impressed, saying Blaze were architects of their own downfall as they lacked discipline.
“The first 3-4 minutes we were great. We got first goal and thought rest would be easy,” he said.
It was anything but.
Former Fife import Evan Bloodoff twice had Blaze in front in the first 25 minutes, before Flyers found their groove.
McNicholas’ first goal at 15:10 allowed them to tie the opening period. He was one of the key players in a second period which saw Fife carved out a thoroughly deserve 4-2 lead in a game filled with turnovers, individual mistakes. It was fast and loose - enjoyable for the fans, perhaps less so for the coaches.
Emmerdahl teed up Imants Lescovs for a one-timer past netminder CJ Motte to tie the game at 27:51, and barely one minute later came the turning point on the powerplay.
Carter couldn’t finish, but rushing in behind him, McNicholas simply drilled the puck past Motte.
Four minutes later, Carter found the net for 4-2, and then, four minutes into the final period, he added the fifth, which was also Fife’s 1500th EIHL league goal.
Blaze were clearly wilting and the frustration was summed up by David Broll who mentally checked out of this game a good eight minutes before the buzzer.
He took a dog-tired cross-check penalty, and then jumped out of the bin, straight on to a puck but couldn’t convert.
With the crowd gleefully winding him up, he then lost his stick, and started shoving McKenzie around in the hope of sparking some response. All he got was a misconduct minor.
Helmet chucked aside, he disappeared down the tunnel, leaving his team-mates to mop up his mess.
Broll must have heard the cheer which heralded Fife’s sixth counter at 57:33.
Carter took the puck for a walk, and drew in two defencemen who ended up on the ice as he made the pass which Jacob Benson happily converted.
Perhaps the only downside was the attendance - just under 1200 which is poor for a Saturday game.