Edinburgh Capitals finally came unstuck as they tasted defeat at home for the first time since the beginning of November – but positivity still remains around Murrayfield.
They went down fighting as Fife Flyers won 6-5 after penalty shots, but with three points taken from a possible four at the weekend, the Capitals are still on the right road to the play-offs.
Young forward Sean Beattie though was unhappy at seeing his team go four down without reply and felt Edinburgh deserved more than what they were delivering at that time.
“Everyone has their bad days, but we should never have been 4-0 down,” he said. “They took their chances, but we fought as hard as they did. You can’t really ask any more of the guys than what we gave in that game.
“We battled right to the end after a poor start and when it gets down to penalty shots, it can go either way.
“Coming from that second period, we knew what we had to do, but we started too late. The confidence really began to lift the more we were taking our chances. We’re pleased with the point, but made hard work of it.”
In the opening period, Edinburgh just couldn’t live with what Fife had for them. Before they knew it, Bobby Chaumont sent a shot in at the top shelf after the Caps had failed to clear the puck from their defensive zone.
Then a harmless Matt Reber shot in the centre of the home zone saw the puck squirm underneath Tomas Hiadlovsky and into the net before Chaumont slammed in a third after the Caps netminder has blocked Scott Fleming’s initial effort.
The Caps were visibly rattled by the impressive start Fife had made and you would have thought it was the Kirkcaldy men that were on the good run of form. But it wasn’t long before Hiadlovsky was breached again after Lukacevic finished off Reber’s chance.
Flyers ran into penalty trouble, with three players all sitting out in quick succession and just as Flyers had gained a fourth skater, Marcel Petran set up Emmerson, who applied the finish from outside the crease.
But then, just seconds into the third period, hope was delivered as the Capitals started clawing back the deficit as Regan’s over-commitment to Emmerson’s chance saw the puck fall to Rene Jarolin, who caressed the puck into the gaping goal.
Fleming squeezed in Fife’s fifth under Hiadlovsky, but a bullet from Marcel Petran inside the Fife D-zone flew past Regan and the comeback was back on.
Suddenly a game that looked beyond the Capitals was within reach and the efforts of the Flyers were starting to take its toll. Edinburgh somehow found a fifth gear and when Jade Portwood bundled in a fourth, Fife’s resilience was gone.
A frantic last minute ensued as Fife tried to hang on, only for Petran to smash home an equaliser and effectively take at least a point.
Quite how that happened was anyone’s guess as, in fairness, the Caps had no right to snatch one.
But with overtime failing to produce a winner, the lottery of penalty shots were to decide the winner and after Lukacevic beat Hiadlovsky with his, Greg Collins and Jade Portwood missed theirs and victory was Flyers’.
Richard Hartmann was upbeat despite the loss and while he admitted it was a point they perhaps shouldn’t have got, he says his players are quickening the ageing process on him.
“The guys are giving me a heart attack and I’m getting more grey hair,” joked the Caps coach. “Fife were destroying us for most of the game, but we kept it together. We didn’t show up for 50 minutes and certainly didn’t deserve a point, but we’ll take it for sure.”
This point followed the two from Saturday when another come-from-behind display saw the Capitals turn a 2-0 deficit to Coventry Blaze into an unlikely 3-2 win as Steven Goertzen and Ryan O’Marra put the visitors ahead and in a good position.
But Jordan Steel got the fightback under way not long after, with Dennis Rix levelling the game up then Portwood sinking the winner late on to clinch the points, leaving Hartmann’s men in the lofty position of sixth in the Elite League table.
All in all, not a bad weekend considering how it could have gone.