Three-goal lead wiped out but Fife Flyers dig deep to edge Dundee Stars

Evan Bloodoff celebrates after opening the scoring for Fife Flyers. Pic: Jillian McFarlane
Evan Bloodoff celebrates after opening the scoring for Fife Flyers. Pic: Jillian McFarlane

Fife Flyers 4 Dundee Stars 3

Fife Flyers welcomed local rivals Dundee Stars to Fife Ice Arena looking to reverse the 4-1 defeat to Omar Pacha’s side the last time the two teams met.

The hosts have not fared well against Dundee this season with only one win in seven attempts thus far this campaign.

This was a huge test of character for the under-strength hosts and one which was answered by a doggedly determined performance and looks to have galvanised both the players and the fans in the race for the play-offs.

Flyers nearly opened the scoring when Chase Schaber’s magical weave through the Stars defence saw his backhand attempt fall kindly to Jordan Buesa, who fired straight into Pontus Sjogren at the near post.

Fife did break the deadlock when Evan Bloodoff rifled home from close range to give the home side a deserved lead on the powerplay at 10.01.

Stars thought they had levelled short-handed after Fabrizio Ricci’s wrap around somehow squeezed under Shane Owen, but after review the goal was waved off due to the nets being off their moorings.

Flyers doubled their lead on 19.25 when Bloodoff took Bari McKenzie’s saucer pass under control and he slammed his shot beyond Sjogren for his second of the night.

It was 3-0 through a short-handed goal on 23.52 after Flyers were rewarded for their relentless pressing on the Dundee powerplay when Carlo Finucci finished off a breakaway for the hosts in stunning fashion.

Stars clawed their way back into this contest when coach Pacha was on hand to poke home after a scramble in front of Owen’s net at 27.46 to give the away side a glimmer of hope.

Dundee were now peppering the Fife net and the home side had to dig deep to maintain their two-goal advantage, with Owen pulling off his usual stunning saves to keep the visitors at bay.

Stars scored a second when Lukas Lundvald found Owen’s five-hole on the turn on 41.04, and with momentum firmly with the visitors, they found the equaliser when Fabrizio Ricci finished off a neat sweeping move with the home side caught napping at 44.51 to spark wild celebrations from the away support.

Despite looking visibly weary and having been under sustained pressure for most of the final period, Fife regained the lead through Rick Pinkston's slapshot through traffic at 52.45 sending the home fans into delirium.

Dundee were frustrated by Flyers constant pressing which delayed Sjogren leaving the ice to bring the extra skater on in their quest for a late leveller, and the home side were able to hold on for a hugely important two points which were massively deserved on this showing.

Fife coach Todd Dutiaume was happy that his team were able to find their focus to win the game, but lamented that individual errors had cost his side this season

“I was very pleased with our first period, although we were by no means perfect", he said.

“They got a decent push back in the second period for three or four shifts. I wasn’t happy with the way we began our third period and ultimately could have handed the game away, when we controlled big portions of the hockey game.

“It is on the players that they fought back and won the hockey game, although it was a lot closer than it should have been.

“That's unfortunately what this season is going to be remembered for, we have handed a lot of points away.

He added: “It's crunch time, and we need to play the right way down the stretch."