Ice hockey: Fife Flyers beat Braehead Clan to reach play-off finals

Ice hockey

Fife Flyers will be flying the Scottish flag in Nottingham in next weekend's Elite League play-off finals after overcoming Braehead Clan.

TJ Caig's late overtime goal on Sunday settled the two-legged quarter-final tie 4-3 in Fife's favour.

After winning the first leg 2-1 at home on Saturday, Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume insists his faith never wavered as his men completed victory in Glasgow.

"We always believed this team could do it," he said.

"It's just a great feeling to know we'll be there.

"To be able to do that two nights on the trot says a lot about their character, and hopefully that's built a lot of confidence for the weekend coming up.

"I have to congratulate Ryan Finnerty and Braehead Clan for the match they gave us. It was far from easy."

Flyers' late turnaround in Saturday's home leg proved pivotal as they edged their Glasgow rivals 2-1 in Saturday's first leg.

Marcus Gotz's tap-in from Matt Keith's puck gave Clan a lead at the end of the first period against the run of play.

But Ryan Dingle equalised on the powerplay with three minutes to go before Kyle Haines smashed in the winner to turn the tie in Fife's favour after round one.

In Glasgow on Sunday, it was every bit as tense.

Clan opened the scoring late in the second period as Gotz tucked away a rebound from Alex Leavitt, whose initial effort had been saved by Flyers goalie David Brown.

Caig netted a well-struck diagonal shot but Scott Pitt levelled the tie from close range to force overtime.

And it was Caig with the aggregate winner deep into the extra period to seal Fife's progress.

Clan coach Finnerty congratulated the Flyers on their victory.

"You have to congratulate Todd and Fife Flyers for the heck of a battle and any team that walks out of that deserves to be in Nottingham," Finnerty said.

"It's hard not to think the closing minutes of Saturday's game has cost us. We wanted it badly and we thought we were good enough, but to say we're disappointed is an understatement."

Dundee Stars also missed out on the final four as Cardiff Devils recovered from a loss on Saturday to take the tie with a 6-5 aggregate win.

The Tayside men gave themselves a great chance after beating the the Elite League runners-up 4-2 in the first leg.

Mikael Lidhammar found the net to surprise the home team before Lou Dickenson fired Dundee into a 2-0 lead early in the second.

The Welsh side hit back through Andrew Hotham and Guillaume Doucet but Curtis Leinweber and Bobby Chaumont gave Stars a two-goal first-leg advantage.

But that joy turned into heartache as Cardiff fought back in the second leg.

The visitors tested Dundee's nerve when Tomas Kurka opened the scoring on the night.

Doug Clarkson tied the game and re-opened Dundee's two-goal aggregate lead in the second period, but Andrew Lord, Hudson and Kurka's second sunk Marc Lefebvre's side.

"It's going to take a couple of days to sink in," said the Dundee coach. "There's not a dry eye in the dressing room and we fought to the end and it just wasn't meant to be.

"I'm proud of my players and every fan should be. We've given a great effort all season and we've got plenty to look forward to once we recover from the sting of this loss."

Coventry Blaze won their quarter-final 8-6 on aggregate against Sheffield Steelers while Nottingham Panthers lead Belfast Giants 4-3 at the midway stage of their tie.

Weekend results

Saturday

Quarter-final first leg

Cardiff Devils 2-4 Dundee Stars

Fife Flyers 2-1 Braehead Clan

Sunday

Quarter-final second leg

Braehead Clan 2-2 Fife Flyers (Fife Flyers win 4-3 on aggregate)

Dundee Stars 1-4 Cardiff Devils (Cardiff Devils win 6-5 on aggregate)

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