Hull stung as Capitals target the play-offs

Capital's Daniel Naslund dives over the Hull goaltender David Brown

Capital's Daniel Naslund dives over the Hull goaltender David Brown

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Edinburgh Capitals battled back from two goals down to beat Hull Stingrays 3-2 after penalty shots at Murrayfield last night and move to within one point of the Elite League’s play-off places.

The ice hockey victory was Caps’ second shoot-out win of the weekend, having edged out Dundee Stars 2-1 on Saturday. However, the win over Hull did come after a controversial decision by referees Neil Wilson and Jonas Reimer.

Hull forward Jordan Mayer appeared to win the game for the visitors when he lifted his penalty-shot high over Caps’ goalie Tomas Hiadlovsly but match officials declared the puck came back off the crossbar and not over the goal-line. The shoot-out went to sudden death, allowing Capitals sniper Dennis Rix to score the winner, handing the extra point to the home side and their fifth win in six games.

Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann admitted his side got lucky, but was delighted with his team’s third-period performance, which included two goals 70 seconds apart from Hartmann himself and a first for the club for Marcel Petran.

“It’s a four-point weekend and I’m delighted for sure,” said Hartmann. “We conceded two early goals and the guys were too hard on themselves for that and just couldn’t get going.

“It was almost as if we were playing scared because nothing had gone right for us. I said to the guys in the break, ‘let’s go out there and have some fun and see what chances we can create’.

“The longer it went on the better we played. We had some great chances in regulation and overtime to win the game. We had the luck in the shoot-out but overall I think we did enough to deserve the two points.”

As for just how lucky Edinburgh were in the shoot-out, Hartmann continued: “I don’t want to say too much about that but if the referee says it’s not a goal then that’s it, we had a similar decision go against us in a shoot-out in Coventry.

“The boys battled and stepped up when it mattered. We need to not get so worried when we go behind. If we stick together as a team we can always bring it back.”

Video evidence of the Mayer attempt clearly showed the puck cross the line and fuming Stingrays player-coach Omar Pacha said: “It was a goal, I’m convinced of that, and the decision not to give it cost us a point. It’s frustrating because a win would have put us top of the Conference.

“We slept for a few minutes, made avoidable mistakes and gave them two goals, but if you score the winner in the shoot-out you take the two points and move on, unfortunately the two most important people in the rink didn’t think it was a goal and it feels like we’ve had a point stolen from us.”

Hull took advantage of an early five-on-three power-play opportunity to score through Cory Tanaka inside five minutes, and increased their lead 12 minutes later, defenceman Yan Turcotte hitting the target with a powerful low shot from inside the blue line.

Edinburgh goalie Hiadlovsky, who after a frantic five-minute overtime period failed to provide a winner was beaten only once in seven penalty shot attempts, said: “It’s easy to lose confidence when you concede an early goal, we struggled in the first two periods, but from that point it was like we hit the refresh button.

“We came out with a different attitude and could have won the game in regulation. In overtime their goalie kept them in it with some great saves.”

Hiadlovsky was again the hero in Saturday’s victory at Dundee, stopping all three attempts and allowing Capitals’ American forward Greg Collins to score the winner.

The weekend’s results see Edinburgh open up a four-point gap above Dundee at the foot of the table, ahead of the two sides meeting home and away this weekend.