Despite taking a three-goal lead through Ben Lake’s double and Jeff Baum’s strike, the visitors would score three unanswered to force overtime and the shoot-out, where Kyle Osterberg scored three times to earn the Scottish side the extra point.
An early chance off Davy Phillips’ slapshot from the point saw the puck nearly get tipped in, only for Fife’s Kevin Lindskoug to make two good saves, while an early slashing penalty on Max Humitz went unpunished by the Giants despite a big chance for Ara Nazarian on the rush.
But the opening goal would come at 9:34 when Travis Brown fed the puck to Lake at the back post and he was able to force it under the body of Lindskoug (1-0), with Jackson Whistle keeping the door shut at the other end as Teemu Pulkkinen snapped a one-timer on goal on the rush.
The goaltender also needed to be sharp when Humitz had a chance as the puck fell to him in front, padding it away, while Matt McLeod and Daniel Tedesco had opportunities late in the period that Lindskoug dealt with to keep it a one-goal game at the intermission.
A hooking call against Vitalijs Pavlovs at the end of the first period would give the Giants a shortened powerplay to start the middle frame but they took full advantage as Lake grabbed his second of the night just 17 seconds in, tipping in Charlie Curti’s shot from the blue-line to double the lead (2-0), and at 21:40 Baum added the third when he thumped in the rebound off McLeod’s initial effort. (3-0)
It could have been even better when Lake set up Printz for the shot with a lovely drop pass but Lindskoug made a glove save and Troy Lajeunesse would reward him with the Flyers’ first goal of the night at 24:07, Brady Pouteau putting it back into the slot for him and he snapped the shot past Whistle (3-1), and the netminder had to deny the winger again shortly after on a great chance from the high slot.
Sean Norris would hit the crossbar at the other end as the Giants pushed to reclaim their three-goal lead, while Bobby MacIntyre was denied on the breakaway by the glove of Lindskoug, and Belfast would do well to see off a slashing call against the returning Roach midway through the period.
But Lajeunesse would strike again for the second time in the period at 34:40 to reduce the Giants’ lead to one, the winger firing it right into the top corner from the right circle (3-2), and the home side would have to see off a cross-checking call against Printz late in the period to get to the second intermission ahead.
Fife was able to see off a holdover penalty on Brady Pouteau at the start of the third, the defenceman off for holding, while Collin Shirley almost set up Pulkkinen for the tap-in on the rush and Humitz had a big chance in close as the Flyers continued to battle.
But it was two late penalties that would cost the Giants the win in regulation, Davy Phillips (tripping) and Lake (slashing) spending time in the box and, despite two massive stops from Whistle, he was unable to deny Osterberg as he collected his own rebound and flicked it over the stranded netminder at 53:35. (3-3)
Daniel Tedesco almost won it late for the Giants when he tried to outlast Lindskoug, flicking the puck back against the netminder from behind the net but it didn’t bounce the right way to cross the line, while a tripping call against Lajeunesse couldn’t give the Giants the goal they needed to claim the two points before the final buzzer.
Humitz came within inches of winning the game for Fife when his shot rang the post, while Baum stepped high into the slot and nearly beat Lindskoug on the backhand five-hole but he couldn’t get his shot on target.
Bobby MacIntyre’s goal with the opening shot was cancelled out by Osterberg’s first effort, with Whistle and Lindskoug turning away the next four efforts on both sides. But after Osterberg’s second goal was cancelled out by Ara Nazarian, the Fife winger would score again and MacIntyre would be denied by Lindskoug to give the visitors the extra point.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants head to Vindico Arena on Sunday 7 January to face the Cardiff Devils, with a return to The SSE Arena, Belfast coming on Friday 12 January in the first game of a double-header against the Nottingham Panthers, the second game a day later on Saturday 13 January. Tickets on sale HERE.