Fife Flyers’opening night record in the EIHL

On the ice ... defenceman Jeff Caister in 2012 (Pic: Steve Gunn)
On the ice ... defenceman Jeff Caister in 2012 (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Fife Flyers will be aiming to open their season with a win for the fifth consecutive season when Braehead Clan come to town on Saturday.

The Kirkcaldy club have posted a series of first night wins to get new campaigns off to the best possible start.

Kevin Regan. Fife Flyers v Coventry Blaze, September 6, 2014. (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Kevin Regan. Fife Flyers v Coventry Blaze, September 6, 2014. (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Their winning sequence started in 2015 with a 6-0 demolition of Coventry Blaze, and continued right up to last season when they won a penalty shot shoot-out against Glasgow Clan.

It underlines how far the club has come since its very first game in the EIHL in 2011.

After seven years playing grassroots hockey, Flyers made the huge step-up, building a team that was heavy on local talent and led by a core of imports new to the league.

Matt Siddall, Garrett Zemlak, and Matt Cohen were joined by Danny Stewart who brought with him crucial experience of top-flight hockey.

Flyers went down 2-0 to Coventry Blaze, but it was the sheer pace of the game which gave them a real wake-up call – that and a 9-0 shutout in the Midlands the following night.

Season 2012-13 – the year of the Pittons, Casey Haines and Jeff Caister – saw them open with a 2-0 Challenge Cup win over Edinburgh Capitals.

Season 2013-14 brought Cardiff Devils to town for the opening match, and the Welsh side skated to a 5-2 victory.

Coventry returned as opposition on the first night for the next two seasons.

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Blaze won 1-0 in 2014-15, but Flyers had their number 12 months later as they launched the 2015-16 campaign with that stunning 6-0 demolition.

There were over 2500 fans in the rink that night to see Fife run riot against a side that had been a tough nut to crack up until this point.

The bulk of the goals came in the second period, Jeff Lee netting 2+2, and goals for Justin Fox, Michael Dorr, Paddy Cullen and Ryan Dingle. Netminder, David Brown claimed the shut-out.

Many would argue that was Flyers’ best opening night performance and result - although a 5-2 victory over Belfast Giants to launch the 2016-17 season runs it a close second.

That Challenge Cup game marked the debuts of James Isaacs and former NHLer Ric Jackman, and Fife were 3-0 up after the first period - defenceman David Turon getting a rare goal.

Giants rallied but the win was sealed by a Chase Schaber strike in the closing eight minutes.

Coincidentally, they recorded the same 5-2 scoreline to see off Edinburgh Capitals on the first night of the 2017/18 campaign.

Liam Heelis top scored with a double, while Schaber, Danick Gauthier and Evan Bloodoff all rang the red light.

Last season’s opener brought Braehead to town for what was a typically tight game.

Flyers roared into leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but a double from Brendan Connolly kept this game incredibly close, and the teams were tied at 4-4 come the final buzzer.

There was huge controversy over Flyers’ final equaliser as the puck hit the back nets but play continued to allow Evan Bloodoff to net - Clan’s Matt Haywood was thrown out for arguing with the officials.

In the penalty shoot out, a double from Paul Crowder sealed a big win.

That result would go down very well again this weekend as Flyers begin a new campaign.