Capitals must stop gifting early goals, says Karel Hromas

Karel Hromas is back to his best after recovering from an ankle injury. Pic: Jan Orkisz/SMP

Karel Hromas is back to his best after recovering from an ankle injury. Pic: Jan Orkisz/SMP

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Forward Karel Hromas admits he is sick of Edinburgh Capitals’ poor starts.

The straight-talking Czech believes the only way for Caps to solve the problem is to take the initiative early themselves, beginning tomorrow night at Murrayfield when they take on Dundee Stars in the first of two Elite League games between the clubs this weekend.

Caps suffered two horror starts last weekend, trailing 3-0 away to Braehead Clan after only five minutes and eventually going down 3-2, before overcoming a 3-1 deficit after just eight minutes on Sunday at home to arch-rivals Fife Flyers to win the match 6-3.

Hromas said: “Sunday was an important win for us. They’re our rivals and we need to take points from those games. We had another bad start, like we had in Braehead, we didn’t manage to come back that time, so to win 6-3 against Fife and take the two points was something we were happy to do.

“It’s hard to come back like that. I don’t know why we’re always starting games 3-0 down. It’s something we talk about a lot in the locker room – focusing on a good start – but somehow we concede so early in games. We change things, we talk about it, but it’s still happening.

“We can make things easier on ourselves, it’s frustrating. It saps your energy always trying to battle back. We’re well prepared for our games this weekend with Dundee. It’s time to stop talking about this and take the lead in games from the beginning.”

Edinburgh, with 15 points from 18 matches, sit at the foot of the table, two points adrift of Stars in ninth place. A home win in regulation would draw the sides level before Sunday’s reverse fixture in Dundee with Edinburgh holding three games in hand over the Taysiders.

Caps management are offering half-priced family tickets for tomorrow’s game. However, purchases must be made online by following the instructions at http://ymlp.com/zg1w94 by 11pm tonight.

Hromas, who cuts a different figure from the frustrated one who at the start of the season played through and then succumbed to an ankle injury, continued: “We want to win all our matches, and a home win on Saturday will build momentum. We want to win both games but that’s how we approach things every week and, if we do it, we will be more than happy.

“Yes, I was frustrated (when injured), my ankle wasn’t good. I couldn’t play or practice for three weeks, but I’m getting back in shape and feel pretty good now. Hopefully, we can get some more wins and start to move up the table and things will start to get even better.”

Tomorrow’s match begins a tough run of six games in ten days for Edinburgh before finishing the festive period and 2016 at home against Fife in the now traditional Hogmanay Forth derby.

“It’s an important time for us,” admitted Capitals’ player-coach Michal Dobron. “But this is the life of a hockey player and that’s what we’re here for. It’s better for us to be playing lots of games than lots of practice.

“All the leagues play over the Christmas period, and we’re professionals. We should be focused, whether it’s September, December, whatever the time of year it’s not a problem for us.”

Edinburgh’s power-play had been misfiring until it bagged four goals last time out in the win over Fife. Hat-trick hero Ian Schultz replaced the injured Jaroslav Hertl on the blue-line when Caps held a man advantage. This line-up could play an important role in Caps’ busy schedule that includes a midweek double header at Belfast Giants, a trip to Fife on Boxing Day, and at home to Braehead Clan on the 27th. Wins, especially at home, are crucial as the league season builds towards its midpoint.

Dobron continued: “I’m not surprised our power-play and penalty-kill have improved (Edinburgh have not conceded whilst short-handed in their past two games). It’s something we concentrate a lot on in practice and it was only a matter of time before we started getting better.

“If we’re not playing well, or someone is injured (Hertl) you change things. The guys are feeling good with how we line up on the power-play just now, and I’m happy with where we are.”