Defeat marks end of a wretched month for Fife Flyers

Todd Dutiaume, Fife Flyers head coach, on the bench  (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Todd Dutiaume, Fife Flyers head coach, on the bench (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

A wretched October for Fife Flyers signed off with an eighth defeat as Belfast Giants skated to a 4-1 win in Kirkcaldy last night.

The final score was a tough one to swallow – this was a one-goal hockey game until the final four minutes, but the better team still took the spoils.

Flyers certainly worked hard in a game which had good pace, some edge to it, a few thundering checks, and a fair bit of noise in the stands which were worryingly empty once again; the combination of a midweek slot, no promotion and live TV coverage clearly having an impact.

Right now Fife cannot buy a win – the one thing the dressing room desperately needs.

They had their share of pressure and some big chances, but that lethal cutting edge wasn’t there, and when they did see the target, they were stoned by former netminder Shane Owen.

Giants deserved to win, just not by that margin, and it’s how Fife close that clear gap that will determine how their season scopes out.

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Giants opened the scoring through Kevin Raine in the 16th minute, and Liam Reddox made it 2-0 on the half hour amid some controversy.

Paul Crowder was skating in on goal when he was taken out – the fans and team were still looking to the ref for a penalty as Giants went straight up the ice and found the net with the impressive Liam Reddox unleashing a fine one-time shot.

All credit to Flyers for rolling up their sleeves and going at their visitors.

Mike Cazzola set up James Livingston on the back hand only to see Owen come up with a big save, before they finally opened their account.

Matt Pelech took a dumb roughing minor, and Paul Swindlehurst handed Fife a five on three for chirping at the refs. That opened up the zone, and Danick Gauthier shot home at 35:23.

Flyers finished the period strongly, but, crucially, could not find that vital game-tying goal going into the final stanza.

They survived a scare as Giants had a goal washed out seconds before the buzzer as netminder Adam Morrison held Jordan Smotherman’s shot, but the bench claimed his glove was over the goal-line. Even the TV cameras couldn’t resolve that one, leaving Belfast coach Adam Keefe seething on the bench.

Carlo Finnuci then had a goal washed off early in the final period before Giants delivered a killer third strike – Pelech getting a fabulous tip on Reddox’s shot to turn the puck into the net at 56:08.

Flyers called a time out and pulled Morrison in the closing two minutes, but were hit by a breakway emtpy net goal from Bobby Farnham as time ran out,

Coach Todd Dutiaume spoke of his disappointment at the outcome, adding: “We have some frustrated hockey players right now. I asked to find a spark that guys like Gauthier & Crowder bring to table. We saw glimpses, but we need 60 minutes.”

That bar remained elusive across most of October.