Flyers’ defeat shows work still to be done

Fife Flyers v Herlev Eagles (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers v Herlev Eagles (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Two thirds into their most extensive pre-season ever, Fife Flyers remain a work in progress.

It’s dangerous to read too much into any exhibition game result, be it a win or a loss, and Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Herlev Eagles won’t matter a dime if the team hits the league campaign firing on all cylinders.

But it’s fair to say the fans are still looking for a spark.

There’s a gut feeling the team needs a goal-grabbing forward and a physical presence in defence to complete the roster.

Sunday saw Flyers complete their double header against their Danish guests with a loss to counter Saturday’s victory.

A cluster of players have certainly caught the eye early on. Ian Young is a solid stay-at-home D man who instils confidence, Chad Smith deserves a regular slot on the basis of his performances to date, Danick Gauthier certainly has the size and grit to hold his own in the EIHL and there’s a Jordan Fulton-esque feel to Evan Bloodoff’s style.

New netminder Andy Isles is settling in well between the pipes, and Charlie Mosey did his hopes of an extended contract no harm at all over the weekend. He revealed in the match night programme he has a three-week try-out with Fife that will take him up to this weekend’s Elite Scottish Cup, and it’s clear he wants to land a long-term stay.

How Flyers perform immediately against their conference challengers this coming weekend is key as far as the fans are concerned.

Of the three pre-season weekends, it is the one that matters most – an early head to head with Clan, Caps and Stars that will allow the fans to make direct comparisons between the rosters and weigh up the conference hopes that lie ahead.

Fife looked sharper this weekend, although they had a rather flat third period where some of the passing was poor.

Minus the injured Shayne Stockton and Sean Beattie, they got the opening goal with a penalty shot courtesy of Liam Heelis after he’d been brought down going for goal.

They then had a great chance to break out short handed, but a poor pass was cut out and Herlev’s Frederick Bjerrum netted quickly as the period drew to a close.

Flyers had their share of good chances in the second period too – Mosey driving the net and going on the backhand was perhaps the pick of the bunch – but the period remained goal-less, ending with a flurry of shoves and punches as four players sat our roughing minors.

Kim Staal fired Eagles ahead after 39 minutes with a fine wrist shot from just inside the blue line, and Fife then coughed a killer third as Josh Scoon took a needless tripping penalty on the blue line, and the visitors took just seven seconds of the power play before Staal netted again.

As the clock wound down, Fife called a time out and, with 1:55 remaining, they pulled Jordan Marr without ever having full control of the puck, giving Scott Jacklin the easiest of tasks to guide the puck into the empty net for a 4-1 win.