Edinburgh Capitals were swept aside by Sheffield Steelers in Elite League action at Murrayfield last night, the visitors cruising to a 5-1 win.
Capitals clearly missed experienced quartet Igor Valeyev, Taylor Stefishen, club captain Michael D’Orazio and Alexander Islamov, all out the line-up through injury or illness.
Sheffield dominated from the off, enjoying huge chunks of possession in the Edinburgh zone, Levi Nelson in particular controlling the play effortlessly.
Steelers goalie Ervins Mustukovs made a great glove save from a Sergei Banashkov breakaway in the fourth minute, and had the presence of mind to set Matt Marquardt away on a counter attack, John Armstrong blasting a shot beyond Edinburgh goalie Pavel Shegalo.
Steelers’ GB internationalist Robert Dowd let Caps off the hook just minutes later, missing an open goal from 15 feet, but Marquardt doubled the visitors’ lead in the 12th minute with a tap-in after Shegalo should have done better with an initial Dowd effort.
The second period followed the same pattern as the first, although the home side hung in gamely for 35 minutes before a poor piece of play from Julius Nyqvist, stripped of the puck deep in his own zone, proved the catalyst for Steelers to score three goals in less than two minutes. Dowd, Mark Matheson and ex-Caps defenceman Ben O’Connor – who scored from a ridiculous angle after an initial Colton Fretter slap-shot cannoned off the plexi-glass behind Shegalo’s goal – doing the damage.
The mood around Murrayfield was lifted in the 38th minute when 20-year-old Duncan Speirs scored his first goal in a Capitals shirt after a nice cross-ice pass from Callum Boyd.
The visitors cantered through the final stanza but former Solway Sharks player Speirs almost grabbed a second goal for Edinburgh, firing a fine effort off the post with six minutes to play.