Gutsy Fife Flyers push Cardiff Devils all the way

Fife Flyers v Cardiff Devils - netminder Adam Morrison and Josh Batch tangle (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Fife Flyers v Cardiff Devils - netminder Adam Morrison and Josh Batch tangle (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

You don’t always get what you deserve from an ice hockey game.

Fife Flyers iced short benched to the extent they couldn’t run three full lines, and look up to see a 20-strong Cardiff Devils standing on the opposite blue line.

They knew it was going to be a tough night, and one made all the harder when they lost two early goals, prompting a time out and a wake-up call from the bench.

That had the desired effect as Fife adapted to icing with the suspended Danick Gauthier – a two-game ban following a DOPS review of a hit in Saturday’s win in Dundee the night before - and the hugely industrious Mike Cazzola, out injured.

They worked their socks off against a solid Cardiff side aiming for a four-point weekend from their Scottish travels, and lit the building up by wiping out a 4-1 deficit to tie this game at 4-4.

To then lose the game 6-4 – a final score inflated by an empty net strike in the dying seconds – was tough on the team.

Flyers may have been short benched but still managed to be caught with too many men on the ice after just 43 seconds. One scramble in front of net later, and Stephen Dixon had the puck in the net for Devils.

A loose puck in Fife’s zone at 7:24 was then dealt with by Blair Riley who drilled a low shot past Morrison for 2-0, and an immediate time out from the home bench.

Thereafter, Flyers got to work, and fashioned a few decent chances before Cardiff netted against the run of play - Mike McNamee twisting & turning behind the the net to get himself into position to make the pass and lay an easy goal on a plate for Masi Marjamaki at 27:52

Credit to Flyers who got their rewards with a goal at 37:43 on a quick three on one break which saw Kyle Just tee up Dylan Quaile for a fine shot to break Ben Bowns’ hopes of a shut out.

At 3-1 they had a way back, but Cardiff’s fourth strike, from the ever dangerous Joey Haddad less than two minutes from the end of the second period seemed to nail the outcome.

All credit to Flyers to delivering a spirited, gutsy third period, which they won 3-2, and raised the noise levels significantly as they clawed their way back to 4-4.

They got that vital early goal within 56 seconds of the period starting when Paul Crowder delivered on the powerplay.

The comeback then delivered two goals inside 39 seconds. Carlo Finucci made this a one-goal hockey game with a great tip on a Scott Aarssen slapshot from the blue line, and then Paul grabbed his second with a fine finish as he skated across the face of Ben Bown’s goal and found the net.

Flyers kept rolling and were worthy of a share of the spoils – something denied them by Haddad who, once again, came from behind the net to drop a peach of a shot past netminder Adam Morrison.

With the clocking ticking, Morrison headed to the bench for a grandstand finale, and Joey Martin hit the empty net at 59:08.