Edinburgh Capitals responded to the shock departure of skilled forward Craig McCallum in the best possible fashion with a superb third period fight-back to beat Cardiff Devils 4-3 after overtime at Murrayfield last night.
Caps’ defenceman Jacob Johnston tied the game at 3-3 with just 30 seconds left on the clock, before scoring the overtime winner 24 seconds into sudden death extra time.
Edinburgh, already without injured trio Paul Zanette, Jordan Steel and Brandon Coccimiglio, trailed 3-0 with ten minutes to go after Devils looked to have built an unassailable lead through goals from Andrew Hotham, Chris Culligan and Zach Hervato.
However, Sean Beattie, with his first goal of the season, got Edinburgh on the board before Nate Fleming brought them within a goal with two and a half minutes remaining before Johnston’s late heroics left the visitors, and even the home fans, shell-shocked.
McCallum did not play. He was a firm fan favourite during his short time at Murrayfield and returns to Canada on Monday. He scored 11 goals plus 19 assists in 26 games for Edinburgh. He is believed to be retiring from the sport.
Edinburgh are next in action tomorrow night at Braehead Clan and are hopeful that new signing, Ned Lukacevic, who joined the club yesterday in the wake of McCallum’s departure, will be clear to make his debut.
Well-travelled Lukacevic, a former Fife Flyer where he lead the team in scoring last season, was released by Coventry Blaze last month and answered Caps’ SOS call, turning his back on a move to a club in mainland Europe.
The 29-year-old Canadian has also iced in Sweden, Germany, Japan, Slovakia and has played more than 100 games in the American Hockey League.
He said: “I’m extremely excited to become an Edinburgh Capital. I feel so blessed that this opportunity came to me late this week. I was actually scheduled to leave the UK for another club, but I am ecstatic that the Capitals and I were able to make a deal happen so quickly.”