Third period goals carry Fife Flyers to victory and top of table

Fife Flyers celebrating a goal against Coventry Blaze, October 2018 (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers celebrating a goal against Coventry Blaze, October 2018 (Pic: Steve Gunn)

The spark came with perfect timing as Fife Flyers finally turned round a 1-0 deficit to dispatch Milton Keynes Lightning on a 4-1 scoreline that put them back to the top of the Elite League.

The result wrapped up a three point weekend – just what Fife needed after losing key player Chase Schaber to long-term injury.

There were times when they could have done with his drive and exuberance as they struggled at times to get a firm grip of a Lightning team playing its third game of three on a Scottish triple header.

They had chances, but were kept on the edges and didn’t really test netminder Patrick Killeen – the pucks fired from distance he happily chewed up all night long, as did Shane Owen at the other end of the ice pad.

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The opening period ended goal-less as the two sides cancelled each other out, but Lightning got the go-ahead goal just 2:28 into the second period as Andreas Valdix shot home.

That strike gave the visitors momentum, and Flyers did come under some pressure.

There were some signs of frustration among the home fans as they saw a powerplay go by without delivering, and the middle period conclude without a game-tying goal.

But, it took Flyers just 80 seconds of the third to turn this game upside down with two lightning goals.

Brett Bulmer saw his shot ping the metalwork, and Paul Crowder was perfectly placed to bag the rebound at 40:$5.

Barely 30 seconds later they led 2-1 as Mike Cazzola fired home, prompting an immediate time out from Milton Keynes to figure out what had just happened.

With their tails up, and the rink noisy – energy from one feeding the other – Flyers went on to take the final period 4-0.

Cazzola turned playmaker for 3-1 and a first goal for new signing Marcus Basara, sweeping a fine shot past Killeen, and then they delivered on the back of a lengthy delayed penalty call.

With Owen heading to the bench, they held possession, rolled the puck up and down the ice pad more than once, and, as Lightning tried to change, a shot came back off the back boards for Carlo Finucci to sweep home.

“That,” said Todd Dutiaume, head coach, “is the team that people want to see. It was exciting, dynamic and controlled the puck – and when it does that, we win hockey games.”

Flyers ended the weekend top of the table, equal on points with Belfast Giants and Nottingham Panthers but with games in hand on both of them.