Edinburgh Capitals face off against Dundee Stars tonight at Murrayfield (7.30pm) and forward Matt Tipoff believes the rare midweek fixture is a perfect fit for Caps after turning in their best performance of the season to-date in Sunday’s 4-1 home win over Coventry Blaze.
“We definitely would like to ride out the confidence from Sunday night’s game as long as we can,” said Tipoff, “and the chance to have such a quick turnaround and play tonight is great. We played a consistent game, we were all on the same page and played tight defensively. That’s how it goes in hockey. If you take care of your own end, chances will come at the other.”
“Our dressing-room felt Sunday was our best game of the season. We played a complete game, a full 60 minutes, and tonight will be a tough test to come out and do the same thing again.”
It may be just seven weeks into the new ice hockey season, but tonight, including two pre-season friendlies, will be the fifth time Edinburgh and Dundee have locked horns. The Taysiders have won the previous four, but that statistic doesn’t overly concern Tipoff, as long as Edinburgh keep on top of Stars’ speedy forward lines.
“They’re a good team and we’ve seen them a lot, but that’s a good thing because we’re familiar with their speed and skill and the way they play the game.
“It’s making sure we play sound defensively. They are a team who are extremely opportunistic off the rush, so when we’re back-checking, you must make sure to pick up your man because they’re always looking for someone at the back door, or arriving late.
“You need to keep your head on a swivel. All their guys have enough skill to make a nice play, so we need to always be on our toes.”
Edinburgh are expecting to be without Ian Schultz and Jaroslav Hertl through injury and could also be minus Mike D’Orazio, who after being kicked out of Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Manchester Storm is having his check-to-the- head penalty reviewed by the Elite League’s Department of Player Safety and may face a suspension.
Schultz, not long back from a groin injury, limped off after ten minutes of Sunday’s game after colliding with team-mate Garrett Milan and Tipoff, who completes that forward line for Edinburgh, admits Schultz will be a big miss.
“Schultzy is a huge part of our team and obviously our line. It’s a big loss, but we cant dwell on it. If you lose a guy like that you just need to pick up the slack somewhere else. It’s the same with ‘Raz (D’Orazio). Hopefully the decision will go our way because he’s a huge part of our D-core, but if not we just need to make up for the guys who are out.”
Edinburgh – with two wins from four Elite League games – and Dundee – with one win from five – currently occupy the bottom two spots in the ten-strong table, but with some sides having played as many as eight games, and with Edinburgh holding games in hand on all teams bar Sheffield, it’s far too early for concerns from Edinburgh on that front.
Tipoff continued: “Every game is important, but not always focusing on the win, but making sure we play the right way and taking it one period at a time. If we do that and put together a good 60 minutes, then wins will come. If we start thinking ‘we must win this game’ then that’s when you get away form thinking about the little things that make you successful.”
Caps bosses, who are matching any full-price ticket purchased with a free child ticket (under-16), are hoping to boost tonight’s crowd, especially with no home game this weekend. Edinburgh travel to Cardiff on Saturday before playing in Manchester on Sunday.