Sudden death winner sends Fife Flyers into play-off finals

Fife Flyers fans flags rinkside for the play-off game v Braehead Clan
Fife Flyers fans flags rinkside for the play-off game v Braehead Clan

Fife Flyers are on their way to the championship finals weekend after a dramatic play-off victory over Braehead Clan.

A goal from TJ Caig just 22 seconds from the end of sudden death overtime secured their place in the semi-finals for the second time since joining the EIHL.

And now they will head south with a huge army of fans for next weekend’s showcase event.

The winner was Caig’s second of the night - and it was timed to perfection with just seconds left to play before the tie went to a penalty shoot out.

The final step to Nottingham saw Fife and Braehead serve up two classic games in front of two capacity crowds - 3000 in Kirkcaldy on Saturday, and 3500 in Braehead tonight; attendances that would be the envy of most of Scotland’s senior football teams.

Flyers took a 2-1 lead west thanks to Kyle Haines stunning winner just 13 seconds from the end of regulation time - and Sunday’s tie was every bit as tense and nervous from start to finish.

It had the fans in the packed arena on the edge of their seats as Clan came at Flyers, determined to tie the aggregate score as quickly as possible.

They applied huge pressure but the opening period ended goal-less as both netminders, David Brown and Chris Holt, stood firm.

Clan broke the deadlock at 36:48 through Stefan Meyer to level the aggregate score, and they really turned the screw in a bid to grab the overall lead.

Flyers held out until the second break, and they then seized the momentum back with a goal from Caig at 35:57 - a rasping drive past Holt to make it 1-1 on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate.

But, two minutes later it was all square once more as Pitt netted for Clan, setting up the most nerve-shredding finale imaginable.

The period ended without further score, and so began four on four sudden death.

Flyers took the game to Clan and they were rewarded with a winner just 22 seconds from time as Caig rang the red light.

Flyers will play either Nottingham Panthers or Belfast Giants in the semi-finals, with Cardiff Devils taking on Coventry Blaze in the other tie.

>> Full report & championship finals preview in this week’s Fife Free Press.