Fife Flyers take positives from pre-season loss as new-look team ices for first time
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And the coaches also had plenty of positives to take from watching the players skate as a team for the first time despite the 5-3 loss to Glasgow Clan.
It will be a very different game when the sides meet in the opening Challenge Cup tie in Braehead next Friday.
The final lingering shadows of last season’s tenth placed finish were surely swept away by a new-look side that was bigger, more physical and much more competitive.
Janne Lakkonen, Braydin Sherbinen and Dillon Lawrence were the players on target, and they also struck metalwork twice.
Clan led from the start, but there really wasn’t much between the two sides. Factor in a much sharper competitive edge in the cup and league, and the old east-west rivalry could well reignite this coming season.
Jeff Hutchins, associate coach, was more than happy with the 60-minute workout.
“We took a lot of positives from the game,” he said.
“It was refreshing to see new faces in the line-up, and the fans coming back to support us - we really appreciated them turning out tonight.
“The majority of the players are new, and we still have two guys to drop into the line-up.
“We tired a bit in period two, but I thought we had a good push back in the third and took the game to Clan.
“A couple of bounces might have tied things up.”
There was certainly a sense among the fans that the team can only get stronger as players hit full match fitness, and Chris Lawrence and Zack Phillips step into the roster next week.
Janne Lakkonen had the honour of netting the team’s first goal of the season after Clan had built up a 2-0 first period lead.
Goals from Mitch Jones and former Fife defenceman Colton Waltz took the Glasgow side to 4-1 - a score which didn’t really reflect the flow of play - before Flyers stepped up the pressure in the third.
A fine strike from Braydin Sherbinin was followed by Dillon Lawrence netting after the most patient of build ups along the boards.
Clan responded quickly with a snipe from Gergely Toth, and it was clear both sides were tiring as the clock wound down.
Fife looked to pull netminder Shane Owen, but had to wait until the final seconds before throwing on the extra man, without success.
The teams meet again on Challenge Cup business next Friday.
“It will be a totally different game,” said Hutchins. “The intensity levels will go up a few notches - we will be ready.”