Capitals battle back to stun leaders Braehead

Dennis Rix scored a vital goal to make it 3-2 after Caps had been two goals behind
Dennis Rix scored a vital goal to make it 3-2 after Caps had been two goals behind
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Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann claims his players “don’t know the meaning of the word quit”.

It comes after last night’s excellent 4-2 victory at Gardiner Conference leaders Braehead Clan.

Caps ran into early penalty trouble and two Clan power-play goals just 40 seconds apart from Jamie Fritsch and GB internationalist Ben Davies saw Braehead build a 2-0 lead just ten minutes in, only for Edinburgh to score four unanswered goals, Jade Portwood sealing the victory late on with an empty-net strike.

“This is a fantastic result,” said a delighted Hartmann after his side’s first win in five attempts over Braehead this season. “We spoke before the match about how we needed to play a gritty road game and that’s exactly what we did.”

Edinburgh are on a terrific run of form which has seen them win nine and take at least a point from ten of their last 11 games. The Murrayfield outfit have found themselves behind at some point in all but two of those matches and Hartmann added: “It doesn’t matter if the score is 2-0 or 4-0, right now this team doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘quit’. It’s great to see the belief the boys have that if they keep working they can get something from the game.”

Despite trailing, Edinburgh played a solid first period, firing 13 shots on goal in reply to the hosts’ nine, and deservedly pulled a goal back in the 20th minute, Joe Grimaldi, on the power-play, bulletting a one-timer past Clan netminder Kyle Jones.

The home side had the majority of the play in the second period thanks, in part, to the ejection from the game of Capitals’ forward Riley Emmerson for a check-from-behind on Clan’s Matt Haywood in the 32nd minute. Tomas Hiadlovsky, in the Edinburgh goal, produced some blinding stops as the visitors killed off the resulting five-minute power-play.

“Killing off that penalty was huge for us,” said Hartmann. “It was a real turning point in the game. We kept them out and then scored a power-play goal of our own not long after.

“Tomas made some great saves and the confidence in the team grew from that point on. The boys played for each other and for Emmo (Emmerson). I was really pleased with how we coped without him – we mixed the lines up to compensate and I was delighted with how everybody stepped up.”

Both teams created chances in an entertaining third period but, crucially for Caps, Rene Jarolin pulled the teams level, scoring in the 49th minute, again on the power-play, banging home Daniel Naslund’s pass after the Swede had done well to keep an attempted clearance from Clan defender Chris Frank in the zone.

The longer the game went on, the more success Edinburgh were having in the physical battles over a tired-looking Clan side, who were missing through suspension Zack Fitzgerald and influential forward Matt Keith. Caps’ blue-liner Loren Barron won one such battle on the boards, breaking up a Clan attack and releasing Greg Collins, who in turn played in Dennis Rix one-on-one with Jones, the Canadian showing some fancy stick work before rifling a shot high past the goalie for what turned out to be the crucial goal with just more than seven minutes remaining.

The result, cemented by hard-working Portwood’s empty-netter in the final minute, gave Clan only their second home defeat of the season, and was in stark contrast to the 9-4 thumping dished out to Edinburgh by Braehead in October.

Edinburgh’s season continues this weekend when they host Belfast Giants at Murrayfield on Sunday (face-off 6pm).