They finally did it. Eight months and 22 games later, Edinburgh Capitals last night got that winning feeling to take two points in a competitive match as they edged Braehead Clan 3-2 in overtime at Murrayfield.
Pavel Vorobyev was the man that gave the Caps fans their smile back and, in a game that could have gone either way, got the monkey that has clung to the team for what seemed like an eternity off their collective backs.
Netminder Travis Fullerton, who only arrived at the club on Friday after some ongoing visa issues, was delighted to be part of a winning team and admits it’s a special win for him against his former team, with whom he served for the latter part of last season.
“I’d be lying if I said that win wasn’t special, but it’s just like any hockey game. Matt Keith scored a minute into the game and I thought it was going to be a long night, but we battled back,” he said.
“It feels good to put the visa situation behind me and I was keen to get over. It was frustrating that I’m the guy the team rely upon, but I couldn’t be there to help them out in the last couple of weeks.
“It’s great to be here and I think we have a really good team here.”
Still looking for their first win of the season so far, Edinburgh had their sights on Braehead Clan, a team stuttering for form and also without a victory in this new campaign as their hopes of a strong start have been undermined.
It was surely a chance for the Caps to take advantage and finally snap that long losing streak that goes back to the start of the New Year. The Lions had their eyes on the prey in their den and Clan were the ones being stalked.
It started well for the visitors as they tested Fullerton with a couple of half chances, but it was Matt Keith that carved them open with a well struck effort after receiving a square pass from Craig Peacock.
The Capitals weathered that early storm and got a foothold on the game as Matt Tipoff unlocked the door. ‘Pocket Rocket’ Garrett Milan drifted in from the left to feed his team-mate and the home supporters were cheering a goal of their own.
A five-on-three powerplay gave the home side a boost and they duly took it when Jacob Johnston hit the pipe, followed by Vorobyev slotting in at the low left hand corner to take the lead.
Braehead responded shortly after when they stepped up a gear and a scramble around the Edinburgh crease saw Alex Leavitt tee up Scott Pitt, who swept it in at the back post to level.
There wasn’t much to choose between the sides in the final session and eventually referee Neil Wilson ended the game and, for the first time, Murrayfield hosted a three-on-three overtime contest.
Caps though started with four skaters, as Lee Baldwin of Braehead sat for a late high sticks penalty, and managed to get the job done as Vorobyev went through on Zajkowski to poke home the winner and snap that long run of defeats.
Caps player-coach Michal Dobron, who missed the game through injury, said afterwards: “This game was important for us and we’ve got a great win. I told the players to play like we did at Belfast and we would win.
“Now we go to Braehead with confidence after this.”
The Caps took the trip to Belfast the night before, but ended with a 3-1 loss. Mike Forney scored twice for the Giants in the second period before Jared Staal pulled one back to give the Caps a lifeline. Steve Saviano’s empty net finish at the end confirmed the two points for Belfast in that Challenge Cup tie.