For the seventh time this season Fife Flyers found themselves in a one-goal hockey game – and that fine margin cost them a four-point weekend.
After a thumping 5-1 victory over Belfast Giants, Flyers enjoyed home ice again when Guildford Flames made the long road trip north to Kirkcaldy.
The teams have matched up well all season, and this game was an open, free-skating night which saw Flyers lead 1-0, trail 3-1 and then rally to tie the game before finally bowing to a 4-3 defeat.
They heavily outshot their visitors and created a plethora of chances, but still found themselves chasing this hockey game after coughing two very slack, lightning quick goals at the start of the second period.
Flyers did pretty much everything except win the hockey game, underlining once again how fine the margins are between each of the teams in this year’s EIHL.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, said the defeat took some of the shine off a weekend of positives.
There were big performances from Mike Cazzola, who netted two of his side’s three goals, and Danick Gauthier, but the team will be kicking themselves for letting the points drift out of the rink.
It started well with Fife pouring the pressure on Flames and making the breakthrough via Cazzola at 17:58 – an opening that owed much to James Isaacs’ ceaseless work, chasing down a puck and putting in a big hit.
Flames responded with a quick one-two right at the start of the second period with John Dunbar punishing a lazy turnover by Chase Schaber to tie the game, and then Jamie Crooks making it 2-1 by 21:55.
Flyers ramped up the pressure, but were caught out on a breakout as Owen Griffiths broke this game wide open at 3-1 just seven minutes into the period.
Flyers response was immediate with Cazzola shooting past netminder Wouter Peeters within seconds, and Schaber atoned for his earlier error by tying the game at 35:12 after Tim Crowder snapped on to a long pass out of Flames’ zone to turn the play back round.
The game was won, and lost, after 51 minutes when Ian Watters was allowed to turn the puck back off the backboards and, with two defencemen near him, he laid it on a plate for Dunbar to convert in front of an unguarded net.
Flyers pulled Adam Morrison in the final two minutes and were even handed a last-gasp powerplay but, once again, the pressure couldn’t yield a goal.
Dutiaume said: “We came out asleep for period two, and when you give up momentum it is tough. There was a great fightback in the third, but we should never have been in that position.”