Stockton hat-trick could go down in Flyers history

Shayne Stockton pokes home the first goal of his hat-trick at Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday. Pic: Steve Gunn
Shayne Stockton pokes home the first goal of his hat-trick at Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday. Pic: Steve Gunn

If Fife Flyers go on to clinch the Gardiner Conference title, the Shayne Stockton hat-trick will go down in history.

The 26-year-old American struck three times at Murrayfield Ice Rink on Sunday as Flyers claimed two vital points in the race for the conference.

They were pushed all the way by an Edinburgh Capitals side playing for pride, and it took a crucial leveller from Stockton late in the third period, and nerve-shredding penalty shots, before Flyers finally got the win that keeps them in the driving seat at the top of the standings.

“Going into the game I wasn’t planning on a hat-trick!” Stockton told the Press. “I was just focusing on playing good hockey.

“My line mates just played really well and found ways to get me the puck.

“I was just in the right spots so all the credit goes to those guys - and to the D behind us as well.

“It’s my first pro hat-trick so it’s a game I will always remember.”

Flyers were staring a potentially crushing defeat in the face when Stockton struck his hat-trick goal to tie the game at 4-4 with with just 1.54 left on the clock.

“When you’re down one goal late in the third you’ve got to keep the clock in mind,” he said.

“It’s desperation time and you’ve just got to throw everything at the net and do everything you can to score.

“I was just sitting there, the puck found a way to get past their goalie and I had a tap in.

“There was a lot on the line for us in this game and we knew that coming in.

“It’s not always going to be a pretty win - sometimes you have to grind it out.

“We came up big down the stretch and found a way.”

The victory has set up a scenario whereby Flyers could win the Gardiner Conference this Sunday should they win in Manchester, and Braehead fail to win in Dundee.

“That’s why you play the game - for those big games that mean the most,” Stockton added.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot and we’ve just got to continue to play good hockey and take it day by day.

“It’s in the back of your mind what’s at stake but you’ve got to take each game on its own.

“If you start putting added pressure on yourself it can work against you.

“We just want to come out and play like we have been playing.

“Other teams are trying to do the same thing we are but we can only worry about ourselves.”

With 46 points from 52 games, Stockton is currently third in the Kirkcaldy club scoring chart this season, and he would love to fire the team to the conference title - as well as the play-off finals.

“At the start of season your goal is to end up in the highest spot possible, but during the season you have to take it each game, and each practice at a time,” he said.

“It’s a process. We went through some long stretches of losing hockey games, but it shows our character that we’ve found a way to turn things around and we’re playing good hockey.”