Flyers stun Giants with third period goal spree

Brett Bulmer celebrates after putting Fife 4-1 up over Belfast. Pic: Steve Gunn
Brett Bulmer celebrates after putting Fife 4-1 up over Belfast. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers 4 Belfast Giants 2

After two-thirds of this ice hockey match, Fife Flyers were a goal behind and fortunate not to be worse.

Come full-time they had claimed a huge 4-2 victory thanks to a transformed team performance in the third period which caught Belfast Giants off guard.

The visitors had been largely dominant for two periods with Flyers often struggling to clear their zone and resorting to icing the puck.

Flyers were carrying passengers but fortunately the home side had just enough players on their game to keep them hanging on.

None more so than netminder Shane Owen, who after stopping 50 shots in Guildford in midweek, put up the shutters again to defy Belfast time and again.

And that provided the platform for the team to explode into life in the third, scoring four times in little over 11 minutes to flip the game completely on its head.

Joe Basaraba remained sidelined by injury, but the Kirkcaldy side welcomed Brett Bulmer back into the line-up following suspension, and the ex-NHLer finally got off the mark in UK hockey with a brace of goals.

With his duck now broken, it would be no surprise to see the marquee summer signing become a big player in the coming weeks.

Despite another week to fix the issue, the rink's sound system was still not working properly, with the music cutting out altogether just as the national anthem was about to start.

It led to an awkward silence as the teams lined up, but any embarrassment was spared as the home fans took over, chanting a fine acapella rendition of Flower of Scotland.

After back-to-back home defeats, a good start was required but Giants set the tempo, deservedly opening the scoring on 2.29 through a Jonathan Ferland tip-in before Fife had even registered an attack of note.

Flyers were outshot 5-14 in the opening period, with Chase Schaber's effort off the outside of the post as close as the hosts came to an equaliser.

Two powerplay opportunities in period two came and went with barely a threat on the Belfast goal as Flyers struggled with the art of shooting the puck.

Indeed, Flyers carried a greater threat when short-handed as the ever-lively Evan Bloodoff, who always carries an offensive threat on the penalty kill, getting two decent shots away as he chased down clearances.

Flyers were starting at a third straight home loss, but the whole atmosphere changed on the 43rd minute.

Schaber had tried all night to create a spark for his side, and finally something came off as slick stick-work at the net diverted attention away from the inrushing Bari McKenzie, who skated onto the pass and fired home from close range.

The goal was an injection of belief into Fife's performance, and within a minute the home side were ahead with Bloodoff finishing off Bulmer's pass high over the shoulder of Stephen Murphy at his near post.

Giants were shell-shocked, and a time-out was called, but Fife were now rabid in their pursuit of goals and Bulmer got the third, and his all-important first in Flyers colours, with a deflection on a Carlo Finucci effort.

The burly winger did not have long to wait for his second, and Flyers fourth, providing the close range finish after some superb set-up work from Paul Crowder.

Giants pulled one back with two minutes left as Blair Riley swept home in the act of falling over, but this game was now beyond them.

Two big EIHL points is a huge reward from a one-period performance, but Flyers will know that they will not always be so fortunate.