Fife Flyers: Sudden death victory keeps play-off hopes alive

Fife Flyers kept a grip on the lifeline that could yet lead to the play-offs with a 3-2 sudden death win over Coventry Blaze on Sunday.

Sunday, 6th March 2022, 9:44 pm

It was a positive response to Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Glasgow Clan - and, right now, its the win column that matters most.

Unless that keeps ticking over this long, and at times difficult, season will simply peter out.

Sunday’s game didn’t scale any grand heights in terms of excitement - other than the winning finale - but the result mattered more than anything on a nigh when the powerplay teams accounted for almost all of the strikes.

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Erik Naslund in the thick of the action for Fife Flyers (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

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In Pictures: These photos from 1998 first appeared in the Fife Free Press

Michael McNicholas’ double was worth its weight in gold but, surprisingly, not the home MoM award.

His first at 7:18 was a fine shot from the right to give Flyers an early, and important lead.

They made a solid enough start, but Blaze looked good in period two, drawing level after 25 minutes through Ryan Penny with Greg Chase in the bin.

Fife Flyers celebrate one of their goals against Coventry Blaze (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Danny Stewart’s side did push for the go-ahead goal but the teams went into the second break on level terms despite Nathanael Halbert twice coming close - once in front of the net, and the second when he simply ghosted past Erik Naslund, forcing a big save from Shane Owen.

The third period saw Blaze finally grab the lead after 51 minutes when Flyers were called for too many men, and they needed just nine seconds on the powerplay before Luke Ferrara lit the red light.

They very nearly sealed this game after 57 minutes when a rocket of a shot from Brayden Brown stripped a layer of paint from Owen’s metalwork, but at 57:46 Fife called a time out, pulled their netminder and rolled the dice

This time it worked as Carson Stadnyk fired home with just 20 seconds left on the clock to force three on three sudden death overtime.

With 63 minutes played, Dillon Eischstadt was called for tripping, handing Flyers a four on three powerplay.

Kristen Blumenschein threw the puck to his right from just inside the blue line, and that landed perfectly for McNicholas to rifle a one time shot into the net.

Jeff Hutchins, assistant coach, was delighted with the win.

“After last night's disappointment it was good to pick up this evening.

“The other positive was our young British guys got lot of ice time. Reece Cochrane did pretty good job coming back to EIHL standard.”

Flyers return to home ice on Wednesday night when they host Nottingham before a season defining double header with Manchester Storm on Saturday and Sunday,

Four points separate the clubs and Fife have a game in hand.

A four-point weekend would light up the run-in to the 2021-22 season.

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