Fife Flyers: Poor start leads to defeat at hands of Nottingham Panthers

There’s a reason Fife Flyers are firmly rooted to the bottom of the Elite League - and they will stay there until they figure out how to deliver 60 minute performances on a consistent basis.

Saturday, 15th January 2022, 11:17 pm

And the longer that takes, the more their slender play-offs will continue to fade.

It feels wearily familiar - it’s as if lockdown never happened, and the team which toiled so badly through the curtailed 2019-20 campaign has resurfaced in 2022.

The names on the jerseys may be different, but the malady remains the same.

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Pic: Jillian McFarlane

A 4-2 defeat at the hands of Nottingham Panthers means the club has won just one of its last 11 league games.

The bright shoots of November feel like a distant memory.

Flyers’ first period was wretched - truly wretched.

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PIc: Jillian McFarlane

They coughed up three goals without reply - the first to a smart wrist shot from Matt Lane with just 52 seconds on the clock.

That set the tempo, and Panthers controlled the puck with comfort. They certainly had plenty of time on it, and when Josh Tetlow rifled home a fine shot inside eight minutes, Flyers were in deep trouble.

Todd Dutiaume called an immediate time out - the message was simple, he said, “get your finger out” but control remained with the visitors.

Ona delayed penalty at 12:33 they pulled their netminder, and skated in and out of Fife’s zone until Kevin Dominique pulled trigger with a fine shot from the left of Shane Owen’s goal for 3-0.

Credit to Fife to getting their act together the second period, and they clawed their way back into contention thanks to two goals from Jacob Benson - his first on the powerplay off a pass from Craig Peacock, and his second, in the last minute, a fine snipe from the right wing.

But you never felt Panthers wert in any real danger.

The clock ticked away throughout the third period with no sign of the breakthrough Flyers needed to turn this game round.

Inevitably they had to pull Owen in the final minute, and, almost inevitably, Mathieu Tousignant hit the empty net to secure a tw-goal victory for Panthers.

Dutiaume took positives from the last two periods, but admitted: “We’re having a hard time burying the puck just now. We clawed our way back in against Panthers team who wanted it more .

“When you spot a team three goals it's a long road back - but anyone who didn’t switch off the live stream after the first 20 minutes would have seen a different hockey team.”

That lack of a 60-minute shift - and the focus, commitment and graft central to it - continues to be Flyers’ downfall.

Tenth place is starting to feel a very lonely place.

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