Pirates shook off any sluggishness following their five-week layoff to record a comprehensive 9-2 home win against a resilient Tigers side which kept going until the end.
The home side, minus several key players, were out of the blocks the faster and were ahead in the 5th minute as Crute latched onto a Blair pass to slip a backhanded effort under Balfour for the opening goal. The visitors were having their fair share of possession but found Meechan in excellent form for Pirates and with almost 12 minutes played Pirates were two in front as Bain squeezed the puck home to send his side in after a first period which had seen the home team play off several numerical disadvantages without damage.
Pirates continued to rack up penalties in the middle session as they incurred the displeasure of referee Elliott and on their sixth powerplay of the night Tigers were back in the game as McLeod forced the puck beyond Meechan to halve the deficit. Their relief was short lived, however, as within a minute Miller has fired an unsaveable bullet past Balfour, and only 30 seconds later it was four as player/coach Ian Turley scored a rare marker as he shot under the Tigers netminder in precise fashion to give his side some breathing space at 4-1. The goals continued to come and Blair went through, rounded Balfour, before flicking nonchalantly into the net to add to the total, and with only five seconds of the period to go it was six as Hassan fired home to make it 6-1 at the second interval.
With the match over as a contest, Tigers grabbed a consolation second after two minutes of the final session, but normal service was resumed as Hassan grabbed his second at the halfway point, with Thorp and Crute, the latter getting his second goal, taking the scoreline to an emphatic 9-2 by the final whistle.
Pirates will be pleased at overcoming another potential banana skin, and minus several important players, and now look forward to the visit of Kirkcaldy next Sunday night at Braehead, in a match which sees league champions Kestrels face current Scottish Cup holders in a match which has all the potential of a Christmas cracker in the final SNL fixture of 2016. Face off is at the usual time of 6.00pm.
Scorers: Crute (2+2), Hassan (2+0), Thorp (1+3), Bain, Blair & Miller (all 1+1), I. Turley (1+0), Crawford & Orr (both 0+2), Wilson, Johnston & Hamilton (all 0+1)
Penalties: Bain 4, Johnston, Blair, Jordan. Hassan, McLaughlin, Thorp (all 2)
Man of the Match: Richard Thorp