Fife Flyers run out of steam in back-to-back weekend defeats
Fife Flyers 2 Guildford Flames 5
Following Saturday’s 6-2 loss at league leaders Sheffield Steelers, Todd Dutiaume’s men returned to home ice on Sunday for the visit of Guildford Flames as both teams looked to build momentum heading into the busy festive schedule.
Forwards Mike Cazzola and Danick Gauthier returned to the line-up after missing the previous two games with injury and suspension respectively, but talisman Chase Schaber was ruled out after picking up a leg-injury in the Sheffield game the previous night.
Ultimately, it was the away team who took the spoils after Flyers seemed to run out of steam as this contest wore on, despite leading at the end of the second period.
Fife coach Todd Dutiaume felt that his team slipped into old habits, which has been costing them dearly this season.
"I think we fell susceptible for our Achilles’ heel, and that is not being able to see out games we have been competing in," he reflected.
"I’m losing track of those games, we have been one goal or two goals ahead after two periods and we find a way to throw it away.
"There is a lesson we haven’t learned as a group, we continue to turn over pucks in key areas, and I feel that at times we lack that killer instinct that we see other teams put us away with."
Both teams are well-matched and the opening moments of this game was testament to that, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring through Gauthier’s long-range effort that was
deflected beyond Wouter Peeters on 4.48.
The lead was short-lived as the visitors drew level with an immediate reply through Ian Watters’ snipe at 5.09.
Minutes later, Brett Ferguson’s shot on the turn beat Adam Morrison but struck the pipework to give the home side a let-off.
There were more warning signs for the home side as first John Dunbar and then Erik Lindhagen squandered chances to put Flames ahead before the break.
Flyers took the lead through a powerplay goal on 21.03 after Jonas Emmerdahl’s wrist shot was deflected by Cazzola into the path of Carlo Finucci who got the tip to divert past Peeters.
Morrison then made some stunning saves as Flames lay siege to the Fife goal, and after a spell of being encamped in their own zone, James Livingston found himself on the breakaway, but his backhand effort was pad-saved by Peeters to keep the away side within one.
A misplaced pass in the Fife zone put Tim Crowder one-on-one with Peeters, but he never looked like having the puck entirely under control, and the Flames netminder kept his cool to make the save.
Finucci then found himself completely unmarked in front of the Guildford net but Peeters was once again on hand to deny him from point-blank range.
Flames began the final stanza on the powerplay and in a mirror-image of the second period, duly took advantage to restore parity as T.J. Foster fired home on 41.09.
Flyers were the architects of their own downfall as a disastrously timed line change on the powerplay left Kruise Reddick in acres of space and his pin-point pass to the back post was buried by Ben Davies short-handed into the gaping net on 45.56.
Guildford then took a two-goal lead through Watters effort on the doorstep following some great work by Reddick at 47.37.
Fife pulled Morrison in search of getting back into the contest, but any hopes of mounting a comeback were dashed when Ferguson lofted the puck high over everyone into the empty net to put an exclamation mark on a great road performance for Flames, who head back to Surrey with four points from their Scottish double-header.