Fife Flyers: one point from Cardiff game as illness impacts on team
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Chasing down Glasgow Clan for that eighth and final qualifying berth, Fife saw their rivals claim all four points from their games, but their 3-3 regulation time tie with Cardiff Devils minimised the damage.
The gap between the teams only grew from two to three points, and Flyers have those three games in hand - including a season defining home game against Clan in two weeks.
They didn’t play to their best against Devils, and only pushed back late in the third to claw their way back from 3-1 down to 3-3 only to lose 4-3 to a goal ten seconds from the end of overtime.
But Flyers need to raise the bar all round if they are to make the play-offs. They haven’t won in their last eight games - and while qualification remains in their own hands, there is a real danger they may just crawl into the quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth.
Jeff Hutchins, associate coach, admitted the team made a slow start and said: “The last few games have been a slog.
“We have had guys out of the line up through sickness and guys playing in different spots. We started tonight halfway through the second period and got our feet going, getting pucks behind their defence and putting them under pressure.
“The point for us was valuable. It’s our hands to push on.”
Flyers saw Kamerin Nault and Dillon Lawrence sidelined through illness and injury for this game, and they created little in an opening period in which Devils were much sharper all round.
Joey Martin drilled the puck home as he crossed Flyers’ blue line with just 1:46 on the clock before Joshua Walker hit the net on the counter attack at 17:28. What could have been a goal at one end - Mikael Johansson riding a big hit on the plexi, and making a great move to get shot away - spun 360 as Walker fired off a sweet shot from the right in Fife’s zone.
Marcus Crawford made it 3-1 as Fife left the back door open at 25:30, and Devils weren’t trouble until until the latter stages of this game.
Janne Lakkonnen finished in style for 3-2 at 50:10 after great work by Chris Lawrence to chase down a puck - and then Chris Gerrie converted off a Zack Phillips shot at 56:59.
Devils went into overtime on the powerplay - a soft elbows call against Lucas Sandstrom - but Fife rode it out, and deemed to be heading to penalty shots when Cole Sandford roofed his shot into the net with ten seconds on the clock.