Manchester Storm 7 – 3 Fife Flyers
Manchester Storm returned to winning ways with a resounding 7-3 victory over the Fife Flyers this past Saturday night at the Altrincham Ice Arena, with two second period goals by Canadian front man Darian Dziurzynski as he helped his Manchester side close the gap of Fife in the standings.
After their previous encounter between the two sides up in Kirkcaldy last month, when an incident involving a fan and Eric Neilson overshadowed the game, I had Manchester Storm player coach Omar Pacha quickly dismissing this week that this was to be no grudge match from his side of things against their fellow conference rivals in any shape or form.
Manchester came on fire to start the game and whether it was a loose puck or a rebound or something similar, the home side were just sharper and a step ahead of their visitors. Storm took an early lead into the game as with 3.07 of the game gone, Dallas Ehrhardt passed a no look pass out to the back post for Patrik Valcak and the Czech forward put home for a tidy finish and give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Shane Owen in the Fife goal saw his net coming under fire far from the home side than he would have liked too, and had the Storm looking very aggressive early doors. Fife found it hard to break down a stubborn Manchester defence and saw the Flyers getting frustrated early on with their plays being a tad slow and their defence at time being sloppy at the back. Some of the attacks coming from the Flyers saw them messing up when in decent positions and they weren’t really able test Mike Clemente in the Storm net for much of the game in truth.
Mario Trubucco then doubled the home side lead on the powerplay at 14.41, after Patrik Valcak had his shot blocked by a defenceman on the play and with Owen leaving half the net gaping to shoot at after committing to the previous effort, it allowed Trubucco to fire and leave Owen laying on the ice in despair for a 2-0 scoreline after the first period of play.
Second period was all one-way traffic by the home side and had the Flyers in a bit of tail spin. Firstly the Storm were matching the physical play that their opponents had dishing out in the game prior to the second period. While the hosts had visibly grown in confidence as the game went on, it saw the visitors confidence shrinking and were getting pushed off the puck easily and looked a different side to the one that had beaten the Storm in their previous trip to Alty. Mark Heatley then credited with the hosts third goal of the night, after Valcak again was in the thick of the action as a pass to Trevor Johnson on the blue line was then deflected in past Owen for a 3-0 game at 27.20.
Fife looked like lost souls out on the ice and had the Storm continuing to batter them with attack after attack and with the hosts outshooting them 14-5 in the period; it saw the fourth goal soon going in as Matt Bissonnette played a quick pass across to Darian who was free and he found the top corner to make it 4-0 and had the game becoming worryingly one-side for the travelling fans.
Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume then took a much needed time out to gather their thoughts of his troops and wanted a better response by his by team than what they were showing. Fife came out and played better after the timeout and typically saw Manchester capitalising on an defensive error, as they bagged their fifth goal of the game and Darian Dziurzynski second of the night, as the Canadian broke clear up ice thanks to a quick pass by Bissonnette; and the with a defender closing him down all the time the Storm man managed to scoop it up past Owen before colliding into the goal for 5-0.
In the final period of play, it saw Fife being much the better team in third and having far more action on the Manchester goals than they had throughout the rest of the evening, with nothing more than pride left to play for. Ryan Dingle netted at 43.33 with a shot that found the far side of the far side of Clemente’s goal and kept his record of scoring against the Storm going, with the American forward making a habit of doing far too often for Manchester’s liking since they joined last year.
Both teams then had a player sent to the penalty box when Adam Harding of the Storm and Thomas Muir of the Flyers decided to drop the gloves and had Muir throwing the far better punches in the scrap, with both collecting five minutes each for their troubles. Taylor Dickin then made it six for Manchester at 53.07 as his low shot slipped by Owen to bring up Manchester’s 300th Elite League goal and reestablish their five-goal lead.
Minutes after stepping back onto the ice after his set-to with Muir, Adam Harding then made it 7-1 for the Storm as his found shot found the back of the net for the home side and rubbed salt into the wounds of the Flyers, who in truth were playing the better the of the two in the period. Fife managed to grab a couple of late consolation goals their way, with Philippe Paquet making it 7-2 before former Storm man Matt Sisca capitalised on a slight error by Clemente to make the score 7-3 and based on their third period performance alone, it was probably fair.
Manchester though managed to avoid any more late goal being shipped in against them and collected two big points in the race for a playoff place, as this win saw them edging closer to the Flyers in the standings and pulling away from the Stars who sit outside the playoff picture currently, but where the Storm travel to on Sunday night and will hope to cement their place a bit more in the standings.
Manchester : Darian Dziurzynski 2+0, Patrik Valcak 1+2, Taylor Dickin 1+1, Mario Trabucco 1+0, Adam Harding 1+0, Mark Heatley 1+0, Paul Phillips 0+2, Trevor Johnson 0+2, Connor Varley 0+1, Dallas Ehrhardt 0+1, Cody Cartier 0+1, Omar Pacha 0+1
Fife: Ryan Dingle 1+0, Matt Sisca 1+0, Philippe Paquet 1+0, Justin Fox 0+2, Russ Moyer 0+1, Sebastien Thinel 0+1, Ric Jackman 0+1, Chase Schaber 0+1
Manchester: Mike Clemente Shots 29, Saves (3) 86.2%
Fife: Shane Owen – Shots 29 , Saves 22 (7) 75.9%
PIMS: Manchester 15 – Fife 11
Powerplays: Manchester 2-3 (66.7%) Fife 0-5 (0.00%)
Stars of the Game:
Manchester : Patrik Valcak
Fife: Kyle Haines