Fife Flyers may well have lost 1-0 to Sheffield Steelers, but they still drew huge positives from last night’s game.
They were worthy of at least a point in regulation time after their short-benched side dug deep once more to produce the sort of performance that will be essential come the play-offs.
And if the quarter-finals do bring them head to head with Steelers, it could be a fascinating tussle.
Flyers played some smashing stuff last night against a side that, traditionally, has been at the height of its game come this time of the season.
They were focussed, and they stuck to the game plan which has served them so well throughout the season, and, but for a confusion over a goal being ruled out, they would have taken at least a share of the spoils.
The big talking point came after 45 minutes of goal-less but hugely entertaining hockey between two very well matched sides.
Jim Jorgensen fired the puck from the blue line, it struck a high stick and diverted for Peter Le Blanc to net easily.
One ref gave the goal, the second one blew for the high stick.
In the end the right call was made – it was a Fife stick which changed the course of the puck - but the methodology of using goal line technology to review footage was contentious.
While that debate rumbled on post-game – Liam Heelis was deep in debate with the officials after the final buzzer – Fife quickly regained their composure and kept going at a Steelers side which was superbly back-stopped by netminder Ervins Mustukovs who was, surprisingly, denied his side’s MoM award.
Moose made some big saves - he was tested more than Jordan Marr who again looked comfortable deputising for Andy Iles, and worked well with a defensive unit which kept Steelers away from the goal across the 60 minutes.
Flyers found themselves under some pressure in the opening period, but the puck fell for them and they worked their way out of trouble each and every shift, and limited the number of clear chances which fell to Steelers’ forwards.
As the game progressed they found their tempo, and dominated the second period.
Chase Schaber, Carlo Finucci and Charlie Mosey all had great chances only to be denied by Mustukovs - Shayne Stockton set up a golden chance too which saw the puck roll just the wrong side of the post.
The washed out goal raised the ire of the crowd, but Fife kept going, and this game remained finely balanced throughout the third period.
All credit to Flyers who worked tirelessly and got big games out of a host of players – Russ Moyer revelled playing against his old side, Dannick Gauthier grafted, and the forwards all stepped up to the plate in the continued absence of Evan Bloodoff.
The winning goal came with 53 minutes played as Colton Fretter fired a shot high past Marr to finally break the deadlock.
With two minutes left to play, Fife pulled Marr, and survived one huge scare as Steelers’ seized possession and Tim Wallace fired at the empty goal only to see his shot rebound off the post.
A 2-0 scoreline would have been extremely harsh on Flyers.
They put in more enough to merit a share of the spoils.