Delighted Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann hailed last night’s 5-3 victory over Nottingham Panthers at Murrayfield as “a big step in the right direction” as the club finally put to bed a stretch of 14 games without a win.
Led by doubles from Greg Collins and Rene Jarolin, it was easily Edinburgh’s best team performance of the season, a fact not lost on Hartmann, who said: “Everybody did very well; they stuck together and played with a lot of heart.
“This is a huge win for us, but the manner in which we played is what pleased me the most.
“The quality of our passing was much better, nice tic-tac-toe which is something that has been missing from our game. We held onto the puck if we had to and we did a good job defensively of clearing the zone. We did the little things right and that was the difference between the two teams.
“This is how I’d like the team to play, and things are starting to come together. We’re all working hard to get out of this slump and this performance is a big step in the right direction.”
In a change of tactics, Capitals’ enforcer Riley Emmerson dropped back to play an unfamiliar defensive role, freeing up 18-year-old utility player Jay King to play forward on the third line alongside David Beatson and Capitals man-of-the-match Callum Boyd. It was Boyd who scored his first goal for the club to tie the game at 3-3, finishing off a break-away move after good work from Collins and Dennis Rix.
Emmerson, said: “I haven’t played a full game in ‘D’ for a while. My partner (Lukas) Bohunicky was really good for me and always talking. It went pretty well, it’s good to be able to jump in and help out back there. We haven’t had this winning feeling in a while and it feels awesome, but we can’t afford to get too high. We need to take the positives into practice this week and get ready for two important games at the weekend.”
Despite losing Jade Portwood to injury early in the first period and Collins, whose magnificent efforts were cut short when he took a stick to the face in the 39th minute, Edinburgh did a great job of holding their shape and utilising the big ice surface at Murrayfield to their advantage.
Emmerson continued: “Richard’s been telling us to use the ice and stay out wide the whole time. It’s something we’re starting to get into our heads now. Last night we really bore down and stayed wide and used the neutral zone well. When we created the opportunity to rush, we used it and it worked great.
“I know this is just one win, but we’re all battling so hard to prove to the fans that this is a different Edinburgh Capitals team.
“Hopefully this will be the start of something.”
Meanwhile, new signing, American defender Loren Barron, will fly into the country on Wednesday. Emmerson, who knows Barron from his time playing in North America, said: “He’s a great two way defenceman. He can skate very well and he’s fast. He’ll be big for us on the power-play and he’s going to play a lot of minutes.
“I think he’s really going to thrive over here. Fans might need to give him a game or two to get used to the big ice, but after that he’s going to flourish on this team.
“Especially when we get guys like Richard (Hartmann, knee injury) and Joe Grimaldi (concussion) back, he’s going to be a real big boost for us.”