The Belfast Giants Scottish weekender continued Sunday, following a season opening 4-2 victory over the Dundee Stars the night before.
Tonight, it was the turn of the Fife Flyers to play host to Adam Keefe’s men in Challenge Cup group action.
Fans in Kirkcaldy were treated to a feisty first period of hockey which saw the men in Teal come out of the blocks at speed, exhibiting no ill effects from the short 23 mile ride South from Tayside.
Looking to build on the strong finish to last night’s game, Belfast held the Flyers to just one shot in the first five minutes- and an early Giants power play only served to increase the pressure on Flyers goaltender Shane Owens.
However, Fife were to see special teams time of their own midway through the First Period, as Giants D-man Paul Swindlehurst headed to the box for slashing.
Despite aggressive offense, the Flyers power play unit were unable to convert past a red hot Tyler Beskorowany.
It was Darcy Murphy who opened the scoring with 7 minutes to go in the first, sending the travelling Belfast support to their feet with assists from David Rutherford and Patrick Dwyer.
Then, shortly after Belfast failed to capitalise upon a Flyers tripping penalty, things got a little heated.
Fife’s Gauthier delivered a nasty hit to David Rutherford against the boards to earn himself a 2+10 checking from behind penalty- something which Giants favourite Jonathan Boxill didn’t appear to appreciate.
Speedy Lino intervention prevented fists from flying, but it was enough to earn Boxy a 2+10 instigation penalty, with both men also serving 5 for fighting.
The middle period got off to a comparatively quieter start, with both sides trading shots and the Fife men looking a touch more dangerous than in the opening 20.
Shane Owens and the Flyers D, however, battled against the tide of a quality Giants side for most of the period, turning away Swindlehurst and Jim Vandermeer one-timers, and just about managing Colin Sheids on the goalie screen.
The earlier hostilities were still evident as the second period ticked away, and following another frank and open exchange of views between teams in the corner, Darcy Murphy found himself on the end of a goal mouth scramble to poke home both his and the visitors’ second goal of the night.
Fife, predictably, didn’t take kindly to that either.
Dustin Johner came close to adding a third to Belfast’s tally, before a worrying incident which saw Guillaume Gelinas take a puck to the face on an attempted Fife zone dump.
Thankfully, the Giants Defenseman was able to make his way to the bench unassisted.
Belfast ended the second period in full control with 17 shots on the clock, with the Fife Flyers only managing to send 4 in the direction of Tyler Beskorowany.
The Flyers took to the ice for the final period desperately in need of a spark, but it was short lived as a David Rutherford interference call opened the door for… who else… Darcy Murphy to complete the hat trick, unassisted and short-handed.
To compound the home side’s misery, Tyler Beskorowany continued to stand between them and twine like a brick wall.
Fife’s lack of speed and inability to work the screen in the third period served up little in the way of a genuine threat to the Belfast goaltender, until a Scott Aarssen rocket from the blue line ripped into the top shelf to give Fife a glimmer of hope and deny a Beskorowany shutout.
With five minutes left to play, you could sense Belfast’s urgency to see this one out.
Patrick Dwyer and Brett Bulmer exchanged words and little else as the Flyers crowd begged for a fire to be lit under their team.
Shane Owen was pulled from his goal within the last minute to give the Flyers a man advantage, but Beskorowany again stood strong.
A Fife timeout added tension to the closing seconds, but it wasn’t to be as Belfast held on to seal their first four point weekend of the season on the road.
The Belfast Giants return home to the SSE Arena next weekend to continue their unbeaten Challenge Cup defence against the Dundee Stars (Fri 14th) and Glasgow Clan (Sat 15th).