Fife Flyers suffer a self-inflicted defeat

Fife Flyers v Braehead Clan, Chase Schaber nets against Gary Russell (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers v Braehead Clan, Chase Schaber nets against Gary Russell (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Fife Flyers shot themselves in the foot so often last night they ran out of toes to aim at rather than bullets. As defeats go, this was horribly self-inflicted.

A good old-fashioned shoot out thrilled the huge crowd of 2500. It was certainly fun to watch, but it still ended in defeat and the concession of two important points to their conference rivals.

The goals coughed came from individual errors – woeful passes, no-one covering the back door, and simple lapses in concentration.

In truth, Braehead weren’t that much better in their own zone as they gave up pucks and winged it at times, but they looked dangerous going forward, and, significantly, they tightened up after the second period was called early to allow for repairs to the boards.

Fife didn’t, and lost a very winnable hockey game.

Four times Clan gained the lead, which says a lot about their team spirit. Fife led twice but for no longer than 32 seconds which says it all. Mistakes saw them concede goals and, critically, momentum.

The game started with mascot Geordie Munro shoving a shopping trolley round the rink - a rather daft joke at Clan’s expense which rather backfired as, come full-time, it lacked one essential item. Two points.

On the ice Fife were again caught cold, losing a goal inside 30 seconds, the first setback of an error-strewn night with Matt Beca netting.

Going forward Fife worked hard. Ryan Dingle was everywhere and Brendan Brooks relentlessly harried his old club at every opportunity. They had chances aplenty across the 60 minutes and were deservedly back on level pegging as Chase Schaber turned home a Ric Jackman shot on the powerplay at 8:18.

But in their own zone, things were just a mess. With 12 minutes gone, the back door was left open. and Alex Leavitt buried the puck to make it 2-1 to Clan.

Schaber grabbed his second of the night to tie the game at the first period only for Fife to again cough a goal early in the second - Matt Keith’s shot off Shane Owen was happily bundled home by the unmarked Craig Peacock at 20:58.

Step forward Matt Sisca with two goals in 10 seconds, underlining the off-the-cuff feel to this game.

His first came off a great move by Brooks, his second saw him hit the jets down the right and simply drill a shot past netminder Gary Russell to make it 4-3, hand momentum to Fife, and light up the arena.

But, barely 30 seconds later, they were back to level pegging as Peacock netted again with ease.

The period was stopped early with 5:21 minutes still to play to allow for repairs to the door at the Fife team bench. That interruption and prolonged break, followed by a lengthy 25-minute final period, didn’t help matters as far as Flyers were concerned.

They did get the go-ahead goal once again though as the puck fell to Kyle Haines and he drilled it past Rusell, but, once again, the cheers had barely subsided before Fife were back to level pegging. Once again, it was entirely of their own making.

Twelve seconds after celebrating, Sisca tried to flick a puck up and out from near Owen’s goal only to see Daniel Ahsberg catch it, drop it to the ice, and roll it into the net in one easy move. The Fife player could only look up to the ceiling as Clan celebrated. It also summed up Fife’s night.

With less than four minutes remaining Clan edged ahead again – and this time it was definitive. Beca went down the right, took the hit on the plexi from Haines, and still delivered the perfect drop pass for Scott Pitt to turn home at the back post.

Fife pulled netminder Owen with 1:20 remaining, and swarmed round Clan’s net, but the clock ran out on them.

Come the final buzzer, there was nothing to show in Geordie Munro’s shopping cart . . .