Fife Flyers come from behind to secure Dundee Stars play-off

By Craig AndersonBBC Scotland
Edinburgh beat west coast rivals Braehead at the weekend

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume heaped praise on his players as the Kirkcaldy men overcame Braehead Clan twice to seal a place in the play-offs.

Their reward for their seventh-place finish is a two-legged date with Dundee Stars next weekend, guaranteeing a Scots team in the finals in Nottingham the week after.

And there was sheer delight from the Flyers coach as the long fight, courtesy of 13 wins in 18 games that got them a chance of sneaking a final eight berth, had paid off.

"I'm absolutely delighted for the guys and it's been a long season," he said. "They've took us on this incredible run over this last month or two and it's well deserved.

"I'm proud for them and, when teams go on big winning runs, it's usually the sides that win the league. Like Belfast this season and Nottingham last year for example.

"But, for a team in ninth, that were 10th at one point, to go on a run of 13 wins in 18 and take it to the last game of the season that they have to win is incredible.

"It shows what kind of character our players had and we're the hot team going into the play-offs. At this stage, anything can happen and we're excited about it now.

"We now come up against Dundee for a place in the final four, which will see a Scottish team get there, which I think is brilliant."

Flyers were in ninth place going into the weekend with four teams - Coventry Blaze, Hull Stingrays, Cardiff Devils and Flyers - going for the remaining three berths.

They knew they had to beat Ryan Finnerty's side twice to do it and hope someone would slip up. That someone, as it turned out, was Cardiff Devils, who lost to Blaze 1-0 in overtime.

On Saturday, Flyers let a three-goal lead slip in Braehead Arena but recovered to claim the two points on penalty shots.

Danny Stewart, Kyle Haines and Stephen Gunn had Fife well ahead before Lee Esders managed to claw one back for the Clan late in the second period.

This was the turning point, with Matt Towe, Neil Trimm and Kenton Smith also scoring to put Braehead into the lead.

Derek Roehl's late leveller took the game to overtime then penalty shots as both teams couldn't be separated.

However, Ned Lukacevic popped up with the decisive penalty shot and kept Fife's fight going to the last day.

And it happened for them. With Coventry taking the point they needed, they dumped Cardiff into the play-off wilderness.

By the time this was confirmed, Fife were 3-1 ahead of the Clan thanks to two goals from Tim Hartung and one from Jordan Fulton. Joel Champagne had scored for Braehead.

So, as news filtered through that the Welsh side were on their way out, Stewart added a fourth to really get the party started on a memorable night in Kirkcaldy.

As disappointing a weekend as it turned out for the Clan, they now have a two-legged tie with last year's play-off champions, Nottingham Panthers, to try and reach the finals.

For Fife, it's an all-Scottish tie with Dundee Stars, with one of them 120 minutes away from making history as the first Scots team to reach the Elite League play-off finals.

The Stars won the Gardiner Conference two weeks ago, so their regular season matches with Edinburgh Capitals, who finished bottom, were relatively meaningless.

Nico Sacchetti found the net either side of the first interval to give Dundee a two-goal lead on Saturday, with Caps' Martin Cingel pulling one back.

However, Brock McPherson added a third period goal to kill the Capitals off as Dundee finished at home with two points.

Moving things on 24 hours later and it was the Capitals that were celebrating a win, ending a wretched campaign with a 4-1 victory over the Tayside club.

Edinburgh took the lead when Curtis Leinweber sent the puck past Dundee goalie Craig Chalmers, before Sacchetti levelled for the Tayside men within a minute.

However, the Caps found their groove and regained their lead through Jaroslav Cesky before Marcis Zembergs increased the lead to 3-1 with a decent finish.

Another from Zembergs confirmed the win in the third period, ending their season on a high with Dundee looking ahead to next week's play-offs.

Weekend results


Braehead Clan 4-5 Fife Flyers 5 (PS)

Dundee Stars 3-1 Edinburgh Capitals


Edinburgh Capitals 4-1 Dundee Stars

Fife Flyers 4-1 Braehead Clan