Edinburgh Capitals completed their Elite League campaign last night with a 4-3 win after penalty shots over Dundee Stars.
Teenage blue-liner Jay King scored the only goal of the shoot-out after Capitals’ net-minder, Tomas Hiadlovsky, saved all four efforts from Stars.
It was an exciting end to what was albeit a dead rubber between the two teams missing out on the play-offs that get under way this week, and rounded off a four-point weekend for Caps who defeated Stars 5-3 in Dundee on Saturday and so finish the season in ninth place.
Bench coach Jock Hay said: “Finishing off with two wins was important, even if they weren’t games with the highest amounts of intensity.”
Capitals will start rebuilding for next term and Hay is adamant the reasons behind the team missing out on the play-offs are obvious: “We had two spells this season where we couldn’t win a game and that’s what’s cost us. A couple of changes would have made a huge difference. The club’s financially strained so it wasn’t possible to make them.”
Edinburgh opened the scoring in the fourth minute, Dennis Rix weaving his way through the Stars defence before firing a wrist shot past former Capitals’ goalie Craig Holland, who was given the start ahead of regular Dundee keeper, Marc Cheverie.
Despite falling behind the visitors quickly took control of the game, Stars’ GB International defender Paul Swindlehurst missed an empty net and Edinburgh goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky made a smart double save to deny Igor Gongalski and Shane Lust, however two late first period goals gave the Tayside outfit a deserved lead.
Firstly Stars blue-liner Ryan Grimshaw benefited from a lovely drop pass from Martin Cingel after the 39-year-old Slovakian, who previously spent 11 seasons at Murrayfield, executed a perfect break-out play, before a rare venture forward from Capitals’ young Scottish D-man James Wallace saw him loose the puck in the corner behind the Dundee net, leading to another Stars fast break, and this time Kyle Gibbons roofed a high finish past Hiadlovsky.
Things looked bleak for Edinburgh when Dundee, desperate to make up Saturday’s loss in front of their own fans, stretched their lead. Stars player-coach Jeff Hutchins scoring on the power-play in the 27th minute. Edinburgh, minus injured player-coach Richard Hartmann and top-scorer Rene Jarolin, struggled to put any real pressure on the Stars net, but then out of nothing quickly got back on level terms with two goals in the middle of the second period to draw level at 3-3.
Riley Emmerson, who after the game was awarded with the Edinburgh Capitals Supporters Club player-of-the-year award, scored his third goal of the weekend, before Jade Portwood fired in Edinburgh’s third goal of the night, finishing smartly after a fine Rix pass put him through on goal.
With Dundee out-shooting Edinburgh 14-6 in the final period, it was only the dexterity of Hiadlovsky that forced five minutes overtime, which erupted right at the death when Kyle Flemington was ejected from with 43 seconds remaining, deemed third-man-in by referee Allan Craig after a bout of fisticuffs between Portwood and Dundee’s James Issacs.
In a nice touch by coach Hartmann, Edinburgh’s regular penalty takers were given the night off, and Jordan Steel, Sean Beattie and Callum Boyd stepped up but all failed to beat Holland, before King slotted the winner in the first round of sudden death.