Saturday night, Flyers I.H.C. played their last game of the season. They played against their biggest rivals, the Dublin Rams. The Rams were playing their first game of a double header as they were due to play back-to-back. They play the Belfast City Bruins on Sunday afternoon. The Flyers and Rams met only 2 weeks ago with the Rams coming out on top of that contest 8-4. However, last night was a different story with the Flyers skating to a 9-5 victory.
Both teams were short benched with each team only having their net minders and 12 skaters. However, it was a fast paced game from the start and very physical. It seems that when the teams play with 10 to 15 players, we get the best games; food for thought for the teams for next season. The Rams got off to a fantastic start and opened the scoring after only 14 seconds. That’s probably the quickest goal of the season so far. It was a very strange goal as the Flyers failed to clear their zone from the opening faceoff. A shot came in from the point, and it appeared that Carney had stopped it. However, as he got back to his feet he was unaware of where the puck was and Matt Hearn was there to swat the lose puck from mid-air in between the netminder’s legs.
The Flyers looked nervous but seemed to get more into the game after a couple of minutes. The Rams’ goal seemed to calm them down oddly enough. They equalised at 3:54 with the goal coming from Dave Donaldson. They got a second just over 2 and a half minutes later through Steven Cooper. Less than 2 minutes after that, Patrick McCabe got another one for them. The score was now 3-1 to the Flyers. However, at the 15:39 mark, the Rams pulled one back through Matt Hearn with Brent Trull getting the assist. However, the Flyers weren’t done as they got a 4th when Gary Rochfort won the puck in the neutral zone and carried it into the Rams defensive zone. He then coolly passed the puck to Barry Higgins; they had a 2-on-1, Higgins then slotted the puck between the legs of Sean Gibson. That period finished 4-2. The Flyers had played extremely well and had outplayed the Rams even though the shots were 13 a piece.
The Rams came out in the 2nd period pressing the Flyers extremely hard and the early minutes of the period were spent in the Flyers’ defensive zone. However, they did manage to weather the storm with some good defending and some solid goaltending from Dermot Carney. The Flyers then went 5-2 up with Emil Kacir getting a goal at 29:32 on the power play. However, this lead was short lived as the Rams pulled to within 2 after Ross O’Driscoll scored a goal for them. This was an even stranger goal then the Rams’ first. A shot went wide of the goal and behind. It then took a strange bounce of the kick plate and came out in front of the goal from the other side. Carney was out of the play on his side and Dave Donaldson seemed to have the loose puck but it bounced over his stick. Ross O’Driscoll was driving to the net and put it home. A bit of a shock to everyone but you get rewards for driving to the net.
The rest of that period was a bit of a stalemate as both teams had equal possession and had equal chances. The shots on goal were 8 a piece. Both teams had missed breakaways with Stephen Cooper hitting the crossbar. The Flyers were also lucky not to score on some of their power plays with Patrick McCabe rattling the post with a thunderous slap shot. The Rams on the other hand were just failing to get the puck past Dermot Carney who was on fine form.
The teams went into the 3rd period with the score at 5-3. The Flyers must have had it in the back of their minds that the Rams came from 2 goals down last Saturday night against the Bulls to win the game. However, the Flyers came out ready to finish the game and they scored early on. Cooper got his second of the night 5 minutes into the period. This was followed by Sandor Szabi who got his 1st of the night after Dean Kelly skated up the left wing and took a shot goal which Gibson failed to cover. Szabi was there immediately to knock in the puck. The Rams then pulled a goal back on the powerplay with Tomas Burdys getting the goal and Brent Trull picking up the assist. However, the Flyers responded quickly with Dave Donaldson getting the Flyers 8th at 51:52. This was quickly followed by a goal from Sandor Szabi. However, the Rams continued their fight with a goal from Matt Hearn. This was Hearn’s 3rd goal of the night.
It was a very good game and the Flyers deserved their victory. They played extremely hard in their last game and look to have secured 3rd place over the Belfast City Bruins. There were no individual performers in the game, they played as a team. They had 6 different goal scorers while 2 more different players picked up assists which just says it all. Dermot Carney finished the game with 28 saves and played one of his best games of the season. He has continued with the form which he has displayed over the past few weeks or so. All in all, the Flyers have had a terrific season and went from huge underdogs to serious contenders whenever they played a game. I read this review of the Flyers I.H.C.’s campaign in the IIHL and I think it best sums up their participation:
“…The resolute brand of hockey played by the Flyers of late, has meant that in the last 4/5 games, if they conceded a goal it only inspired them to go up the other end and claw it right back. This has given them a never say die attitude and broken many an opponents spirit, and as happened with the Rams last night, caused them to seek to blame their team mates or the on-ice officials.
“Both teams played with reduced numbers, but to be honest this favoured the Flyers as they have become inured to the demands of playing with perhaps two lines which has worked wonders for their fitness
“…All in all a great first season for the Flyers, who have taken on the attributes of their sponsors, water company DeepRiverRock with a rock solid defence and a fluid, sparkling offense. They have surprised many and must have surpassed even their own wildest expectations…”
For the Flyers, bring on the playoffs while the Rams faceoff against the Bruins on Sunday.