This weekend sees the Mercedes Benz Fife Flyers take on the giant challenge, the Stena line Belfast Giants, in a double header.
The first match this weekend see’s the two sides battle it out for Elite League points which both clubs will want badly, and on Sunday in Belfast it’s the return leg of the Challenge Cup. If the Giants win that one Fife are definitely out of the challenge cup. Also on Saturday night saw the return to the Flyers line up for Brett Bulmer after his two game ban.
I managed to catch up with head coach Adam Keefe to ask him a few questions ahead of the fixtures.
Tyler Beskorowany was very impressive for the Caps, what made you offer him a contract?
“Tyler’s resume was very impressive and we really liked his size and how confident he was in the net. He came into Belfast last season with Edinburgh and pretty much stole the 2 points for Edinburgh. He’s very motivated to get back to the level he was once at not long ago in the top leagues in Europe and we certainly want to help him get there by backstopping us to a Championship.”
Your defence is basically new this year apart from Mark Garside did you feel that was an area that needed a fresh look?
“We certainly felt we needed some adjustments on the back end yes. But we also knew a few of our defensemen were retiring and we didn’t have a choice but to look for replacements. I am very happy with where we are on defence at the moment.”
You guys have started well in the Challenge Cup, 4 for 4, what are the aims for the Giants this year?
“Our aims never change here in Belfast, we want more silverware. But overall I want us to stay consistent and stick to our process that we will have in place. If we do that for 8 months, success will follow.”
With the league getting better every year what things as a coach do you have to make sure you get right before every weekend?
“It’s important to have your team best prepared for whatever team you may be facing that coming weekend. Pre Scouts are important to help give your guys that little edge on preparation. Aside from that we need to make sure our guys are coming into the weekend feeling good about themselves and ready to compete every game.”
How do you think the new rules will affect the flow of the games this year?
“The new rules so far are taking some getting used to but I do think they are just trying to speed up the game so there is less time between whistles and more pace. I’m on board with that and I think it’ll take some getting used to but I think in time it’ll be a good thing for the league and the product that we are putting out as far as entertainment value.”
So in the first of a double header this weekend the Flyers would be in good spirits after there win in Guildford in midweek while the Giants would be looking to get back on the horse after there loss at home to the Panthers. Fife had Brett Bulmer back from suspension and Joe Basaraba came out and did the pre-game skate.
First Period: The Giants dominated most of it with Jonathan Ferland opening the scoring at 2 minutes 29 seconds he was assisted by Leonard and Shields, that was all the scoring in the first period.
End of the first: Flyers 0 v Giants 1.
Second period: The Giants dominated but Shane Owen kept them out and come the end of the second there was no further scoring.
End of the second: Flyers 0 v Giants 1
Third period: The Flyers finally woke up as at 3 minutes 8 second in Bari McKenzie levelled the scoring from Schaber and Gauthier. A minute later Flyers took the lead, a pass from Brett Bulmer to Evan Bloodoff and he made no mistake scoring his fourth goal in two games giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Five minutes later it was 3-1 Flyers as Finucci and Crowder combined for Brett Bulmer to get his First goal as a Flyer, and with just over 5 minutes left the same two men combined again and again that gave Brett Bulmer his second of the night to put result beyond doubt as the flyers had now moved in to a four goals to one lead, then with two minutes to go David Rutherford set up Blair Riley for the Giants second of the night and that would be all the scoring in the match.
Final Score : Fife Flyers 4 v Belfast Giants 2
MOM – Fife: Shane Owen
Belfast – David Rutherford
Fact : Flyers move to second in the league table.
Fife travelled to Belfast for their second game of the weekend and in the Challenge Cup. If Fife had lost they would have been out of the competition.
First period: This time Fife took the initiative and at 2:48 in the first period Bloodoff’s pass set up Bulmer for his first of the night and third or the weekend go give Fife the lead, 7 minutes mates it would be 2-0 Fife as a pass from Stoflet put through Finucci to score, the Giants would get one back in the first through Braun.
End of the first: Giants 1 Flyers 2
2nd period: Much the same as the first Flyers again quick to score first at 7:01 gone. Bulmer would take the puck and drive to the net and as he went round the last defenceman he lost his edge falling to his knees he flicked the puck up and over the Giants goalie to make it 3-1 Flyers and give him his 4th goal of the weekend. At 10:33 the Giants came back and Baun would score his second of the night.
End of the second: Giants 2 Flyers 3
Third Period: In the final stanza the Giants battered the Flyers net but once again the brick wall that is Shane Owen kept them at bay. With about 10-12 seconds left Paul Crowder scored and empty goal to make it 4-2 Flyers and that is how the game ended, thus keeping Fife in the hunt for a place in the quarter final of the challenge cup.
Final Score: Giants 2 Fife 4
That is a very impressive week for Fife. Three wins. One in Guildford and a double over the Giants, 2nd in the league and for my money the only choice for this week’s netminder of the week is Shane Owen. Also Brett Bulmer looks to have finally woken up four goals in two games plus at least one assist means hopefully that is him on a hot streak.