EDINBURGH CAPITALS captain Martin Cingel today urged his team to build on recent home successes and turn Murrayfield into a fortress.
After a woeful start to the season that included a stretch of 13 games without a victory, Edinburgh have won their last two home games and Cingel is adamant Sunday’s 4-2 loss at high-flying Dundee Stars has not dented the team’s new-found confidence.
In their only game this weekend, Caps will face off against Hull Stingrays on Sunday night and Cingel said: “Every year we have the same problems, for the first six or seven weeks we seem to really struggle and then something clicks. “Hopefully we’ve reached a turning point; the atmosphere in the locker room was fantastic after our home wins against Nottingham and Belfast.
“Our aim remains the same – to make the play-offs for a second straight year. In the second half of last season we made Murrayfield a very hard place to come to and we need to do that again. We have a big ice pad here and we know how to play on it. If we’re going to go on a run and start picking up points, this is where we’re going to do it.
“We lost our last game, but Dundee this year are a very good team. The table never lies and they’re in second place for a reason. Not too many teams are going to go up there and win. I thought we matched them until we fell behind and then we tried to open up a bit and got caught out. It’s always disappointing to lose, but the team’s morale is still on the up because we can all see that our performances are improving.”
Thanks to an online promotion, around 1500 spectators are expected to attend Sunday’s match and Cingel believes the best way to turn any new potential fans into Capitals die-hards – or perhaps bring back a few old ones – is to win.
The two sides have already met three times this season, Hull holding the upper hand after winning the last two encounters, including a 4-3 victory the last time the sides played at Murrayfield. He said: “It’s always nice to play in front of a big crowd.
“They can act as an extra player on the ice and could be a big help for us in picking up the two points. There will be a lot of new faces in the stands on Sunday and the best way to bring them back would be to put in a great performance and win the game.”
Key to Caps’ home form of late has been a hot streak in front of goal. Edinburgh have scored 16 in their last three home games, a relief to fans who have already seen their team shut-out four times this season.
Power forward Peter Holecko has rediscovered his form after being moved to the third line and summer signing, Czech forward Tomas Horna, has impressed with six points in his last three games. Defensively though, admits Cingel, there is still a lot to work on.
He said: “We’re working hard on tightening up defensively. We’re conceding too many goals when we’re on the penalty kill and that is something that we can definitely improve on.
“I think Peter moving to the third line has been great for the team. He’s big and powerful and good defensively. We have three lines that can score goals and that has really helped us.
“For Tomas, this is his first year in the UK and it’s not always an easy transition, especially when like him you have a young family back home. They have started flying over every couple of weeks to see him and these are all things that contribute to your play on the ice.
“He’s settled down now and you can clearly see that in his play. He’s a good player who can score a goal and he’s really contributing on that top line.”