Fife Flyers: crucial win on penalty shots to keep heat on play-off pack
and live on Freeview channel 276
They went to the wire against key challengers, Manchester Storm, but, crucially, emerged on top after a penalty shoot-out to secure a 5-4 victory.
It was by no means their best performance of the season - the game was scrappy as both sides struggled to gain full control amid a flurry of minor penalties which disrupted the rhythm - but the outcome was what mattered most.
Janne Kivilahti bagged a double while Zack Phillips delivered another one of his specialities - a rocket of a shot from the wing - but Brayden Sherbinin saved the best for last with a magnificent finish in the penalty shoot-out.
When Jonathon Desbiens tried a bit too hard to outwit Shane Owen, Flyers’ netminder resolved the issue with a poke check to deny the Storm skater a shot, and secure the win.
Jeff Hutchins, associate coach, said: “We had a frank chat before the game tonight and wanted more effort than we got in Cardiff. The month has been pretty solid for us - we have to harness that and take it into February.”
Flyers netted twice on the powerplay against Storm, but also conceded three to their specialist team, and it took them until the final minutes to tie the game and force overtime in which Fife had some great chances, only to be denied by a hot goalie in Jeremy Brodeur.
Phillips fired Fife into an early lead, but Storm were level on the next shift through Tyler Barrow.
The teams traded powerplays - Kivilahti countering Barrow’s goal - to make it 2-2, and Kivi’s second at 17:27 gave Flyers the advantage at the first break.
Storm had the better of the second period and tied the game after 26 minutes through Dallas Erhardt before Tyson Fawcett flicked home from close range to make it 4-3.
The clock was ticking when Flyers were handed as five on three powerplay at 54 minutes. They couldn’t find a way past Brodeur, but struck just seconds later when Nault found the net.
Overtime saw chances at both ends of the pad before it was on to penalties.
It took just one round before Sherbinin’s slick finish set up the win which leads neatly into a huge three-game weekend with a second head to head with Storm, a road trip to Glasgow, and a visit from Belfast Giants.