Fife Flyers’ miserable December continued with a home defeat to Dundee Stars – and a performance which failed to impress the fans.
The club has just logged one win from nine starts and has tumbled down the standings to eighth place, with concerns starting to grow that the freefall has yet to bottom out.
A 4-1 defeat was a fair reflection on a game in which Flyers looked scrappy and disjointed for large spells, and were outskated by a Stars side which notched its third straight win over them.
After a poor display in a 5-2 loss in Dundee on Boxing Day, Flyers were expected to come out with all guns blazing and set the record straight.
While Chase Schaber’s continued absence didn’t help - the forward is expected to resume skating in training from Monday - the team’s performance was simply poor.
The passing was simply awful, they were second best throughout the opening period, and had netminder Adam Morrison to thank for getting them to the break still at 0-0. He was also one of a few players to pass muster on another long, difficult night at the rink.
Flyers had their chances – Danick Gauthier couldn’t convert with the back door wide open, and Michal Gutwald didn’t get enough on a shot from a great pass across goal - but the game was always wide open, and Stars looked the side more likely to ring the red light.
It took them until the half hour, but that opening goal was a key moment. Kevin Dufour, one of their stand out skaters, netted with a fine shot after sustained pressure around the net and when Matt Carter converted on the powerplay at 34:15, it left Flyers with a mountain to climb.
Four minutes on the powerplay in the closing moments came and went without a goal – if ever the specialist team needed to deliver, it was then – and while Flyers rallied in the third, it was far too little, too late, and any slender hopes they harboured of a fightback were surely snuffed out just two minutes into the final period when Brett Stovin netted his own rebound after Morrison had denied him with a sprawling save.
Flyers finally netted at 52:03 when James Isaacs’ sheer perseverance kept the puck alive and when he dropped it back into the zone, Mike Cazzola turned it home.
Four minutes later, they were handed a get out of jail powerplay when Stars were caught with too many men.
They pulled Morrison for a six on four finale, but, for the tenth time this season, conceded an empty net goal, Dryden Dow rolling the puck from deep within his own zone, down the ice and into the goal.