Opinion / Sports

Spirited Comeback Not Enough As Clan Denied In Shootout

By Stewart Ross

Braehead Clan lost out to Fife Flyers in a dramatic shoot-out on Saturday night at Braehead Arena, despite an inspired third period fightback.

Flyers held a three nil advantage approaching the end of the second period before a Lee Esders goal just before the end of the twenty minutes, and a goal rush from Clan early in the third put them in front.

Fife would not be denied and found an equaliser late in the final period which took the game into overtime. After that ended scoreless, the match would be decided by a shootout.

Clan had emerged victorious from seven of the last eight home meetings with the Fife side, but they were second best to a fired up Flyers lineup, fighting for the final playoff spot.

A sell out crowd at the Braehead Arena, which included a large travelling contingent from Fife, created an electric atmosphere as both sides created chances in a feisty opening period.

The visitors started to take control as Clan struggled to get a foothold in the game. Flyers were rewarded for their hard working start on 17.09 when Danny Stewart fired past Kyle Jones on a powerplay to give them the advantage going into the second period.

The Braehead side again found it difficult to find any rhythm in the second period, finding goaltender Kevin Regan in fine form when they did manage to trouble the Flyers net. Casey Haines doubled the Fife lead on another powerplay at 24.31 before an error in defence from Kenton Smith allowed Stephen Gunn to add a third on 36.29.

Esders did manage to give Braehead hope on a powerplay at 39.49 when he diverted past Regan following Mario Larocque’s powerful effort which reduced the deficit going into the third period.

A completely different Clan side emerged for the final period as they found top gear and laid siege to the Flyers goal. Neil Trimm on 42.4reduced Clan’s arrears to a single goal as Fife desperately attempted to halt the Clan onslaught. It would continue however as Matt Towe tied things up on 46.06 before Kenton Smith made amends for his earlier error with a great strike to complete the turnaround and send the home crowd wild.

Clan #22 Chris Frank/Photograph by Andrew Revill

The Flyers refused to go down without a fight, smacking one off the frame of Jones’ net soon after they had gone behind. Jones continued to stand firm in the goal as things began to boil over towards the end of the third, with Clan’s Chris Frank thrown out of the game for misconduct following an over exuberant difference of opinion with the officials, remonstrating with them all the way off the ice and beyond.

Jones was finally beaten again with only two minutes remaining in the game as Derek Roehl scrambled the puck past the goaltender to force the game into overtime. Neither side could find the winning goal in the sudden death overtime as the game went to a shootout.

In the shootout the goaltenders were again in top form, Regen kept out Clan’s Joel Champagne before Jones denied Tim Hurtung. Towe then failed to convert for Clan before Ned Lukacevic netted what would be the decisive goal as Bobby Chaumont and Clan captain Ash Goldie were both kept out.

Fife Celebrate/Photograph by Andrew Revill

A vital second point for Flyers kept their hopes of making that final playoff spot alive and sent their large travelling support back to Fife in a jubilant mood.

After the game Clan head coach Ryan Finnerty was happy to take a point from regulation time after his sides fightback against a tough Fife side. Speaking to The Wee G, he said: “A tough battle here but we fought back in the third and I’m proud of the guys for that.

“That’s a very good team we played tonight, they came hard and you gotta give them a lot of credit.”

 

 

Photograph by Andrew Revill

Nottingham Panthers now lie in wait for Clan in the playoff quarter finals with first leg taking place away at the Capital FM Arena on Thursday before the second leg in Glasgow next Saturday to decide who goes into the final four of the playoff weekend.

Period Scores:

Braehead: 0+1+3=4
Fife: 1+2+1=5

Goals on Powerplay:

Braehead: 2/5
Fife: 2/7

Follow Stewart on Twitter: @StewartRoss89

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