TICKETS: The Go Goodwin’s Manchester Storm are back in home action on Sunday night (11th December) with the Belfast Giants our visitors at the Storm Shelter! Face off is at 5:30pm, and tickets can be ordered online, by calling the box office on 0161 926 8782, or in person at the box office.
Your Go Goodwin’s Manchester Storm made the perfect start to a big week of hockey action with gritty 2-0 road win against the Fife Flyers.
Storm travelled north to Kirkcaldy with last month’s 3-0 win over the Flyers fresh in the memory, and hoping to banish the demons of a 7-0 defeat in the previous meeting at the Fife Ice Arena. The team were again without injured pair Patrik Valcak and Eric Neilson, whilst the Flyers had former Storm forward Mathew Sisca amongst their absentees.
Storm started brightly, and when Flyers forward Justin Fox picked up an early penalty, they took full advantage. Matt Bissonette found Cody Cartier in the slot and Cartier fired past Fife netminder Shane Owen from close range to give Storm the lead on the power play with just 2:06 on the clock.
The early goal set the tone for a period of exciting end-to-end hockey, with Mike Clemente making world-class saves from Brooks and Fox before Mario Trabucco pinged Owen’s crossbar. As the period came to a close, Storm ran into penalty trouble. Referee Halas called three consecutive minor penalties, including two short bursts of 5-on-3 penalty kill, but Clemente and the Storm defence held firm.
The second period started much as the first had ended, with Storm a man down and on the penalty kill. The momentum was with the Flyers but they could not take advantage, their power play unit struggling to both cycle the puck and maintain the play in the offensive zone. When they did manage to fashion an opening, Clemente proved more than equal to the task.
Respite finally came at 28:33 with Kyle Haines penalised for holding against Cody Cartier. On the resulting power play, a period of puck pinball in front of the Fife goal came to nothing, and then Shane Owen denied Taylor Dickin at the back post.
Storm closed the second period in the same manner as the first, picking up three consecutive penalties as Fife pressed for an equaliser. Again, the Storm defence held firm as the Flyers bench and fans grew increasingly frustrated. On the one occasion the Fife power play managed to manoevre Clemente out of position on the rebound, the open goal went begging.
End-to-end hockey returned early in the third period. Clemente shut down a shorthanded Fife raid before a period of 4-on-4 saw chances missed at both ends. Flyers forward Finucci found himself free in the slot but his shot was saved by Clemente. At the other end Cody Cartier nearly added a second on the breakaway, shielding the puck from Shane Owen before clipping the post.
As the clock ticked towards 60 minutes, this time it was a frustrated Fife side who found themselves acquainted with the penalty box, picking up consecutive penalties as time ran down. Fife returned to full strength with just 29 seconds left on the clock, with Shane Owen leaving the ice almost immediately for an extra attacker as the Flyers gambled in search of a late equaliser. Instead, the puck was turned over straight away, and Matt Bissonette found Darian Dziurzynski who calmly finished into the empty net with 20 seconds to go to seal the Storm win.
Mike Clemente was named man of the match, turning away all 33 Fife shots for his second shut-out against the Flyers this season, and Storm hit the long road back to Altrincham with two vital Gardiner Conference points safely in the bag.
UP NEXT: Storm face a league and cup double header against the Belfast Giants on Sunday 11th (Elite League, face off 5.30pm) and Wednesday 14th (Challenge Cup quarter-final, face off 7pm, special offer prices available!). Unless we draw them in the play-off quarter-finals, this is your last chance to see an exciting Giants side on the ice in Altrincham this season. Tickets can be ordered online, by calling 0161 926 8782 or in person at the box office.