Fife Flyers drop key point in shoot-out loss to play-off rivals Manchester Storm

Fife Flyers stuck to their target of points every weekend, but the one they claimed against Manchester Storm needed to be two - and delivered in regulation time.
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The outcome of head to head matches between the play-off rivals are crucial, and Fife have only limited time to make up any lost ground as the countdown gains in momentum.

They created more than enough chances to dispatch Storm, in an open and rather loose game - a bit too loose, said Manchester coach Matt Ginn - but came up against a red hot goalie Evan Weninger. When a netminder stonewalls both Kyle Osterberg and Troy Lajuenesse on breakaways in the same shift, you know it is going to be one of those nights, That said, Flyers have to bury the chances that come their way.

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They led for two periods only to be pegged back in the third, and ultimately beaten in a penalty shoot out. To add salt to the wounds, the winning shot came from former import Zack Phillips. As the fans booed, he simply dropped the puck into the net to secure a huge road win for Storm.

Troy Lajeunesse in action against Manchester Storm (Pic: Derek Young)Troy Lajeunesse in action against Manchester Storm (Pic: Derek Young)
Troy Lajeunesse in action against Manchester Storm (Pic: Derek Young)

It started so well for Flyers as Max Humitz got them on the boards with a goal at 3:51. Joe Morrow struck metalwork before Ray Brice levelled at 6:24 before the game burst into life after 15 minutes.

Flyers struck with a beautiful goal at 15:03 as four skaters made one touch passes round the net, and that slick movement opened it up for Jonas Emmerdahl to net on his birthday.

Forty seconds later, Lajeunesse was clearly impeded heading to the bench, and he shoved Stephen Johnson through the gate on to his backside. That prompted a rescue mission from Manchester, some brief jostling, and when it all settled down, there were minor penalties all round, but a five plus game for roughing for Fynn Page who was on the bench throughout.

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With Lucas Chiodo driving the team, Fife kept motoring, but the second period ended goal-less and Storm’s equaliser 55 seconds into the third gave a hint of what was to come; Brice turning the puck home as Flyers’ defence found itself tied up. Both teams looked ragged at times in the third, both were slightly leg heavy as this game headed into overtime where Flyers had some fine chances and even managed to miss a penalty shot - Osterberg unable to hit the net - before a shoot out.

Drake Pilon’s penalty was slick and well executed, the less said about the other ten or so, the better. Phillips missed with his first one, but delivered the coup de grace with his second. A point lost, but a key one at the business end of the season.