Edinburgh Capitals’ defenceman Joe Grimaldi believes their 3-2 win after penalty shots over highly-fancied Cardiff Devils at Murrayfield last night was testament to “hard-work behind the scenes”.
And he hailed their first home win of the fledgling Elite ice hockey league season as a boost to everyone involved with the club.
Grimaldi, who alongside Dennis Rix and Greg Collins scored in the shoot-out for the home side, said: “As a group, it’s important to get that first win here under our belt, but it’s bigger for the organisation as a whole – obviously the fans, but also for the front office and coaching staff, who have all been putting a lot of hard work in behind the scenes, and I think we’re starting to see that paying off on the ice
“We’re playing more to the coach’s (player-coach Richard Hartmann) system and tonight we did a much better job of staying out of the penalty box – and that’s important if we want to keep winning matches.
“We have talented players, but we have a shorter bench and less experience than a lot of the other teams in the league, so we have to play smart and be the most disciplined team out there.”
Cardiff had the majority of the possession in the opening period. However, Caps benefited from the return of Riley Emmerson from suspension, who scored two power-play goals. Emmerson opened the scoring, planting himself in front of Devils’ goalie Ben Browns and deflecting a Grimaldi shot past the Great Britain international stopper after seven minutes, before again causing havoc in front of goal to set up Hartmann for the second on 19 minutes.
Hartmann was delighted to have 6ft 8in Emmerson back in the line up, and said: “All the guys played well, and getting Riley back was big for us, he did exactly what I asked of him and played a great game.
“There are a lot of positives to take away from tonight, but also plenty to work on.
“After our early success on the power-play, we became a little impatient when we had the puck and didn’t take the time to set up the play to give ourselves good scoring opportunities.”
Edinburgh lost Jade Portwood to a rib injury early in the second period, and Devils pulled a goal back soon after, Cardiff man-of-the-match Carl Hudson firing a shot from the blue line into the top left-hand corner, leaving screened Caps’ goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky with no chance.
Edinburgh conceded a sloppy equaliser in the 45th minute, loosing possession at centre ice, which led to a Devils’ breakaway, Cardiff player-coach Andrew Lord tucking away the rebound for a shorthanded goal after a Trevor Hendrix shot had cannoned off the post.
Lord, having iced for the Welsh outfit as a player last season when Cardiff won all four encounters against the Murrayfield men, was impressed with the new-look Caps side.
Describing them as a much tougher proposition, he said: “You’ve got to give them a lot of credit, they came out really hard, coach Hartmann’s got them playing a good style of game and everybody is finishing off their checks.
“We’re just lacking a little bit of consistency. I thought for 45 minutes we played a good game, but Edinburgh are a really improved team this year and if anyone thinks they’re going to have it easy up here they’ll be in for a surprise.
“I think it’s a real testament to the league that we have ten teams who can win on any given night – and it makes it really exciting for the fans.”