Fife Flyers defeat Nottingham Panthers to complete weekend to savour

Danick Gauthier scored a double in the win over Nottingham Panthers. Pic: Steve Gunn
Danick Gauthier scored a double in the win over Nottingham Panthers. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers 4 Nottingham Panthers 2

Fife Flyers weekend could not have been much better after they defeated one of the league's big-boys Nottingham Panthers on Sunday evening.

The 4-2 victory made it two wins from their opening two league games and consequently a well-earned and much deserved four-point weekend to savour.

Head coach Todd Dutiaume was delighted with his team's performance and work-rate against one of the EIHL’s big teams.

“For 55 or 56 minutes, that was exactly who we want to be each and every night, and I think people will respond to that," he said,.

“I was impressed with my guys tonight, they certainly deserve the criticism when it's due, but also get the praise when its due to them also.

“With exception of our powerplay, which was static tonight, we’d be hard-pressed to find any criticisms in that game tonight."

With three wins in their opening four fixtures, this is a Fife side with some serious potential.

Buoyed by Saturday’s excellent road win in Coventry, Flyers tails were up from the opening face-off.

Panthers stopper Jackson Whistle was much the busier netminder during the opening exchanges in which Fife started brightly and created many scoring opportunities without breaking the deadlock.

Captain Chase Schaber saw his shot come of the shoulder of Whistle, who was completely unaware of the pucks whereabouts, and bounce narrowly wide.

As the period wore on, Panthers grew into the game and were beginning to create chances themselves with the puck somehow staying out after a scramble in front of the Fife net.

The away side began the second period on the powerplay and despite creating chances, Flyers saw off the penalty kill and when they returned to full-strength once again took the game to the visitors.

Flyers took a deserved lead on 26.51 through Schaber after he poked home after a period of sustained pressure on the Panthers net to almost blow the roof off the auld barn.

The hosts doubled their lead when Danick Gauthier’s long-range effort was fired through heavy traffic and completely deceived Whistle to nestle in the back of the net at 36.53.

The game entered the final period and continued in much the same vain with the away side struggling to deal with Fife’s buzzing and pressing and two soon became three when the mercurial Gauthier finished off another sweeping move via the post on 47.41.

Forward Mike Cazzola was then presented with a gift on 50.53 after some miscontrol on the Panthers blue line saw him break free one-on-one and he fired past Whistle to put the hosts four ahead.

Nottingham grabbed themselves a lifeline through Sam Herr’s shot on the turn that was fired high into Morrison’s net at 53.55.

The visitors had to roll the dice and they did by pulling Whistle and after some great work in the Fife zone, Oliver Betteridge was on the spot to grab Panthers another consolation goal on 58.22.

With the Panthers net gaping, Flyers thought they had scored a fifth goal, but the officials washed out the goal after a call for offside, with no further review.

The mood was celebratory in the arena, with the DJ getting the crowd bouncing with the excellent new goal music and the players feeding off the support of the fans.

An enjoyable evening all-round at the rink, where the Flyers play host to the Coventry Blaze next Saturday, face-off 7.15 p.m.