The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
FIRED-UP Fife Flyers continued their late-season purple patch by beating Dundee Stars 4-1 last night to secure their place in next weekend’s showpiece Elite League semi-finals at Nottingham.
The Kirkcaldy club, who finished seventh in the 10-strong table, ended Dundee’s dreams of making the final four with a powerful performance.
The Tayside team were beaten twice by their arch rivals at the weekend.
Last night, Fife provided the killer blow when they powered to a 3-0 lead after 37 minutes to stun home fans in the Dundee Ice A rena.
Right-wing Jordan Fulton fired home after build-up play involving Bobby Chaumont. The goal was scored on the power play. Time: 24min 40sec.
The visitors went 2-0 ahead six minutes later, this time defenceman Tim Hartung did the damage with Kyle Haines supplying the ammunition.
Home-grown product Jamie Wilson made it 3-0 after 37 minutes, with Derek Roehl and Kyle Horne assisting.
It became 4-0 early in the third session when Matt Reber netted with Roehl again assisting. Time: 44.41.
Lubomir Vaskovic was set up by Billy Bagron and Paul Swindlehurst for Dundee’s opener, which came with less than six minutes left.
That gave the home fans in the 2,600 crowd hope but it was to prove a false dawn as Fife held out to book a spot in next weekend’s showpiece.
Fife had taken a one-goal cushion into last night’s second leg, after letting slip a 4-0 lead.
The Kirkcaldy combine roared to what appeared a comfortable advantage after 32 minutes but then the roof fell in as three goals in 16 nightmare minutes put Dundee back in the tie.
The packed terraces at Rosslyn Street rocked as the home side roared to a 3-0 lead.
The goals came in an eight-minute spell. The opener came on the powerplay from Bobby Chaumont after eight minutes.
Fife doubled their lead three minutes later as Jordan Fulton was on target and then added a third in the 16th minute with a strike from Derek Roehl.
Chaumont added his second, also on the powerplay after 32 minutes as he made it 4-0.
With nine seconds of the second period remaining, Stars pulled one back as Russian-born assistant player/coach, Nikita Kashirsky, netted on the powerplay with Fife in penalty trouble.
That proved crucial. The Tayside team reduced the deficit even further after 45 minutes as Rory Rawlyk, a surprise inclusion after being ruled out earlier in the campaign through injury, was on target.
Dundee narrowed the gap to one, Rawlyk scoring a second powerplay goal with less than five minutes remaining.
Fife finished with 27 penalty minutes compared to Dundee’s 21 and Fife’s Kevin Regan was the less busy goaltender, dealing with 12 shots in the first, nine in the second and eight in the third.
His opposite number, Dan Bakala, faced 38 shots. A incredible 20 came in the opening session, followed by nine each in the second and third.
Fife head coach Todd Dutiaume saluted his men last night and said: “They deserve this for the work they have put in.”
On the failure of some players to shake opposition hands after the first leg, he said: “There was no malice in it. It was an aggregate tie and some of the guys didn’t know the protocol. They thought you shook hands after the final leg.”
Fife now meet Belfast Giants in the first semi-final at Nottingham on Saturday and Braehead Clan square up to either Sheffield Steelers or Coventry Blaze in the second.
Steelers are 3- 2 ahead in their quarter-final tie with Coventry, with the second-leg inYorkshire tomorrow.
Meanwhile, at Kirkcaldy, Kestrels, who finished second in the Scottish National League, were last night edged 6-5 by defending play-off champions, Dundee Tigers in the play-off quarter-final secondleg, after letting slip a 3-1 lead after two periods. Tigers won the final session 5-2 to move into next weekend’s play-off semifinals, also at Kirkcaldy, on a 9-6 aggregate.