Edinburgh Capitals signed off on their Elite League season with a 4-1 victory over Dundee Stars at Murrayfield last night, with forward Jordan Steel happy to give something back to the fans who stood by the team through a disappointing campaign.
With just 13 wins from 52 games Caps finish last and, along with Cardiff Devils, miss out on the end-of-season play-offs which get under way this week.
However, they deserved to take the spoils in an entertaining game, splitting their weekend series with Stars, who on Saturday night unfurled their Gardiner Conference Champions banner after a 3-1 win over Edinburgh at the Dundee Ice Arena.
Reflecting on a season where realistic play-off ambitions were quashed as early as February, Steel said: “Obviously having been rock bottom it’s been a hard season but it’s good to sign off with a win, especially for our fans who’ve kept supporting us even though it’s been a tough year.
“The last month or so it’s been difficult, having nothing really to play for, but when we get to the rink we’ve always tried our best. If you can’t at least do that then you may as well not turn up.”
After a scoreless first period, Edinburgh got a grip of the game with three power-play goals in the second, through Curtis Leinweber, a first for the club for Jaroslav Cesky and Marcis Zembergs. Nico Sacchetti briefly restored parity at 1-1 in the 36th minute but that was as good as it got for the visitors. Zembergs added his second and Edinburgh’s fourth late on to make the game safe.
Capitals player-coach, Richard Hartmann, who is yet to agree a new deal with the club, set up two goals despite rarely icing, instead giving the majority of his game time to fringe player Marc Fowley.
Hartmann said: “I’ve been bothered with an injury for so long now, but have been playing through it, but this weekend I wanted to give more of a chance to our younger boys.
“I joked with the players before the game and told them, even though we’ve had a disaster of a season, if we finish with a victory we’ll feel like the champions. It was nice to pick up the win. The boys did well.”
On his own future, Hartmann, who has now been with Edinburgh three years, said: “Next year I will be playing hockey that’s for sure, I just don’t know where. I will take some time to analyse where we went wrong before I talk to (co-owners) Scott (Neil) and Matthew (Tailford). They’re both friends of mine and we will definitely talk. I’ve said before, my family is settled here, but we need (Caps) to move on because this season was really hard for me.
“There are a lot of things that need to change, but it’s too early to talk about that now. I need to sit down and think about what happened before I can explain things. If I want to move on this is not the way to do it.”