Edinburgh CAPITALS’ run of good form continued at Murrayfield as third-period goals by man-of-the-match Brent Patry and Latvian sniper Marcis Zembergs cemented a 5-2 victory over Dundee Stars in their only game of the weekend.
In the fifth meeting of the season between the two clubs it was Edinburgh’s first victory, which coach Jock Hay felt was long overdue.
Hay said: “In three of the four previous games, we’ve played pretty well and late mistakes have cost us.
“I think we were really solid. Everybody had a good game. We were winning the battles in the corners, moving the puck well and were in control for most of the night.
“When they scored their second goal and pulled it back to 3-2, we went a bit flat. When it’s a one-goal game anything can happen and we struggled for the rest of the second period. We spoke about it in the locker room, came out, worked hard and scored the fourth goal. We weren’t in any danger after that.
“In the last six games, three of which have been against the league’s top sides, we’ve won five. You can’t ask for any more than that.”
Capitals opened the scoring five minutes in while on the power-play, Rene Jarolin finishing at the far post past Stars goalie Nic Riopel after a pass from Curtis Leinweber.
Stars’ Canadian forward Mike Wirll levelled things up at 10.58, showing great speed to burst through the home defence and fire an unstoppable shot past Caps net-minder Tomas Hiadlovsky.
Edinburgh took control of the game in the second period with two goals in a two-minute spell. Recent Capitals signing Leinweber found the net in his seventh straight game, the longest active goal-scoring streak among all Elite League players, when he ripped a slap-shot past Riopel after good work by Zembergs and club captain Martin Cingel at 31.34. Then Cingel and Zembergs combined again, working well from behind the net to set up Peter Holecko, who scored from the slot at 32.55.
Not to be outdone, Stars immediately brought themselves back to within one. Tim Kraus did well to break up a Capitals attack before skating the length of the ice to score at 33.23.
The visitors then enjoyed their best spell, and Hiadlovsky had to be at his best to stop Dundee’s leading scorer Sami Ryhanen when clean through.
That was as good as it got for the Tayside outfit as Edinburgh controlled the third period and regained their two-goal cushion in the 49th minute through the stick of Patry, before Zembergs rounded off a great individual performance, showing strength to hold off the Dundee defence, switching to his back hand, and flicking a shot high above a despairing Riopel at 52.52.
Zembergs, was pleased with his and the team’s performance, but believes it vital that Edinburgh who, despite this run of good results still find themselves one point outside a play-off spot, must remain focused for a crucial run-in of three games before the turn of the year.
He said: “It’s always tough to play Dundee. They have some good forwards who can score at any time and we needed to remain focused for the entire 60 minutes.
“We will need to keep this up as we are in the middle of an important stretch. We have games on the road against Hull and Braehead before our home match with Fife on Hogmanay, and if we can keep winning it will be a perfect end to the year.”
Disappointed Stars coach Jeff Hutchins, whose side also lost last night at home to Fife Flyers, said: “We didn’t stick to the game plan. It seemed we just turned up and all tried to do our own thing, and they capitalised on our mistakes.
“We gave the puck away and that cost us. They are a team that are opportunistic on turnovers and they did a good job. They’ve won five of their last six games.
“Gone are the days you can expect to come here and walk away with the two points.”