Fife Flyers claim first point of season against Belfast Giants

Fife Flyers finally claimed their first point against Belfast Giants at the eighth time of asking this season.

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 11:11 pm

The sides met at Fife Ice Arena tonight for the first match of 2022 in the Kingdom, and also the first at the rink staged under the Scottish Government’s crowd restrictions.

That meant just 200 fans were allowed rinkside, and they saw a hard working Fife skate with a Giants side that has now won ten games in a row.

It was a significant improvement on the performance across the Irish Sea on Friday which saw Flyers lose 4-1.

Fife Flyers first home game of 2022 was played under Scottish Government restrictions limiting the attendance to just 200.

While they went down 3-2 to a penalty shot in sudden death overtime, the point gained for the draw in regulation time was no more than they deserved; it was arguably the best they have played against the Irish team.

They certainly had the chances to overturn their impressive visitors - and they came through hard graft.

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Todd Dutiaume, head coach, said: “It’s about engagement in the game, and having a sense of urgency, and I saw that tonight.

Greg Chase and Michael McNicholas in action for Fife Flyers against Belfast Giants (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

“We came under pressure at times, and lost some momentum in the second period, but we also had excellent scoring chances and they came off the back of guys skating well, going for pucks and making things happen.”

Dutiaume will be looking for a repeat when he takes his team to face Nottingham Panthers on Sunday - their third game in three nights.

Fife have enjoyed some success in the Lace City and will draw a lot of heart from this performance against Giants.

The opening period may have been goal-less, but it was still entertaining, and credit to the 200 fans who generate as much noise as they could.

The view across the ice pad as 200 fans watch Fife Flyers first home game of 2022

Early chances for Fife included one at 13:40 s Colton Waltz dropped a puck in from the point, and a superb tip from Carson Stadnyk diverted it, forcing netminder Tyler Beskorowany to move quickly.

The deadlock was broken just two minutes into the second period when Mark Cooper opened Giants’ account, but Flyers tied the game after 34 minutes as Tommi Jokinen netted his first goal since signing for the club.

Another great chance went begging, and short handed, when Greg Chase held up the puck and set up Michael McNicholas who shot high in front of the net, and the goalie blocked.

They conceded in the dying seconds to give Belfast a 2-1 lead - Jeff Baum getting the goal after a video review.

Shane Owen kept Fife in the game with a fine double save at the start of the third period, and they ought to have tied the game after 44 minutes when Craig Peacock broke down the right, and set up Bari McKenzie but he couldn’t finish at the back post.

But they were back on level terms with the goal of the game after 48 minutes, while short handed - the perfect response to a ropey call against Carson Stadnyk.

Greg Chase pursued the puck down the left boards, threw it to McNicholas who raced in on goal and executed perfectly.

The game ended all square and went to three on three sudden death hockey.

Giants were furious at being called for too many men, handing Fife a four on three powerplay.

They killed that off, and within seconds, JJ Piccinich had charged down a puck in neutral ice and raced goalward.

He was tripped, resulting in a penalty shot which he converted albeit with little conviction as the puck trickled under Owen’s body and over the line.

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