Fife Flyers deliver thrilling victory over Belfast Giants

Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants, Sept 2019 (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants, Sept 2019 (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Fife Flyers re-ignited their Challenge Cup ambitions with a thrilling 5-2 win over Belfast Giants in Kirkcaldy on Sunday night.

They wiped out the memory of Saturday’s 7-2 loss across the Irish Sea with a display which had the fans buzzing with excitement.

If this is the benchmark for hockey on Sunday nights in Kirkcaldy, few will complain.

Up against a strong Belfast side, Flyers were comfortable on home ice, and relished the intensity and the pace, coming back from a 2-1 opening period loss to a 3-0 third session scoreline which culminated in an empty net goal to seal the deal.

Danick Gauthier was a powerhouse skater, while there were big performances from Tim Crowder, who found the net twice, and Carlo Finucci who buzzed all night long.

Todd Dutiaume, head coach, was a happy man at full time.

“it was important to answer back, he said. “That was number one. Results matter to us.

“Fans and players alike needed a win under their belts.”

Flyers opened the scoring at 6:33 with a powerplay strike from defenceman Joan Emmerdahl.

Giants were level through a fine goal from Matt Pelech after 12 minutes as he was allowed to power down the right circle behind the goal and get into good position to slot the puck past Adam Morrison.

They then had one goal washed out after review, but still went into the first break ahead after intense pressure saw Jean Dupuy ring the red light.

The second period was hugely entertaining as Fife got into their stride.

Kyle Just had them level just after half an hour with a shot through traffic on the power play, and Morrison came up with a huge pad save to deny Ben Lake.

Then came that barnstorming finish – three goals in the last 16 minutes amid some rattling checks and the occasional sign of frustration from Giants.

Their coach, Adam Keefe, reflected on the penalties given, and not given, before admitting: “Game’s over. We go again next week. That’s the beauty of hockey.”

He did leave the ice with his hand over his eyes as he passed the officials; a sign perhaps of what he really thought .

By then Fife had constructed an excellent win, step by step from 2-2 to 5-2.

Gauthier and Tim Crowder laid the foundations for 3-2 by working on the boards and getting the pass for Dylan Quaile to drill the puck home.

Tim Crowder then added a fourth goal in the 56th minute.

Giants pulled Shane Owen for the closing two minutes, but could do little to prevent Crowder netting again as he dispatched a neat break-up play by Mike Cazzola to cap a fine night.

As they celebrated, Bobby Farnham tried to tangle with Scott Aarssen, and was duly huckled down the tunnel by the stripeys on roughing and charging minor penalties.

His game ended 17 seconds early, and he was given a ‘warm’ ovation as he disappeared into the dressing-room..