Pirates duly completed the double over their Tayside rivals and, in the process, not only recorded a 100% record of home wins in a season, but also qualified for the SNL playoffs next weekend, when they will meet Aberdeen Lynx, who defeated Edinburgh Capitals 10-9 on aggregate.
The home side had the better of the early exchanges, but in spite of most of the play taking place in the visitors’ defensive zone, netminder Balfour was relatively untroubled by direct shots on goal. After eleven minutes, however, the deadlock was broken as Miller got on the end of a movement involving Orr and Wilson to beat the Tigers’ goalie to put his side ahead. Within four minutes the lead was doubled, as the same line combined to allow Wilson this time to finish off and take the aggregate lead to nine. Less than two minutes later Tigers had pulled it back to a one goal game as Reekie beat Meechan to give his side some hope, if not for the overall tie, then at least over the night, to make it 2-1 at the break.
In the second session, play was remarkably flat as Pirates, with the tie well and truly over as a contest, proceeded to see plenty of the puck without actually looking likely to score, and in spite of having several powerplay advantages which they were unable to capitalise on. When they did find a way through to Balfour, they found the Tigers’ netminder to be equal to anything coming in his direction, and the middle session thus ended without any alteration to the score.
With the match, and indeed the atmosphere, in need of a goal, skipper Graham McCamley applied the shot of adrenalin required after 42 minutes as he latched onto a Campbell pass to score, and stretch the lead once again. The Tayside team were also testing Meechan at the other end but it was a further 10 minutes before the scoreboard was called into action again, as Miller grabbed his second to take the lead to 4-1. With Pirates briefly in top gear they scored again with seconds, this time Campbell finishing from McCamley and Turley to finish the scoring for the evening, and ending the Pirates’ home matches on a high note.
Pirates might be a little concerned regarding the flat spells they had during proceedings, but can nevertheless be satisfied by their progress to the biggest successive weekends in the Scottish National League season, which sees them go head to head with Aberdeen Lynx in the first playoff semifinal next Saturday in Kirkcaldy (face off 4.45pm), with the winners of this tie and Kirkcaldy Kestrels v Dundee Comets meeting in the final on Sunday (face off 6.00pm). The final of the Scottish Cup, which sees them up against old rivals Edinburgh Capitals, takes place at the same venue on Sunday 16 April, with a 6.45pm face off.
Scorers: Miller (2+1), Wilson (1+2), McCamley & Campbell (both 1+1), Orr (0+3), Turley (0+1)
Penalties: Campbell, Henderson, McCamley & Turley (all 2)