For Edinburgh Capitals
captain Martin Cingel, when your team is bottom of the league, and has suffered six straight defeats in ice hockey’s Elite League, it’s never too early in the season to talk about “must-win” matches.
Capitals take on conference rivals Hull Stingrays at Murrayfield on Sunday (face-off 6pm), having won just four of 20 league games.
They sit on nine points, five adrift of second-from-bottom Fife Flyers and seven points outside the final play-off spot, occupied by Hull, who have enjoyed a good start to the season under the watchful eye of experienced player-coach Sylvain Cloutier.
Cingel said: “This is a must-win game for us. If we want to be serious about the play-offs, the two points will be staying with us this weekend.
“Lapses in concentration have cost us games this season. We seem to play really well for 45-50 minutes and then lose the game in the last ten.
“If we focus and cut out our silly mistakes we have a good chance of winning against any team in this league.”
With Juraj Senko, who missed Wednesday’s 5-2 road defeat against Coventry Blaze with a rib injury, set to return, Sunday’s encounter will see Edinburgh start a match with the full allocation of 11 imports for the first time this season after recent acquisitions, Canadian duo Curtis Leinweber and Brent Patry, arrived within the past ten days.
On his new team-mates, Cingel said: “Obviously this is a huge boost for us. Curtis scored a really nice goal on Wednesday and already he is starting to contribute really well, and Brent, even after one game, I can see he’s going to be really good for us, and just what we were looking for.
“It’s fantastic to have those two guys on board and it will make a big difference.”
Latest arrival Patry, who only met his team mates 90 minutes before the puck dropped on Wednesday night, said of his debut: “It was quite different. I’ve never had one quite like that.
“It felt like I just walked off a plane and straight into a warm up, but I already feel like I’m fitting in perfectly; the guys have all been very accepting.
“The style of play here is a lot more physical to what I’ve been used to recently after spending the past few years in France and Italy.
“There seems to be a lot more North Americans, so it will take a little bit of adjusting that way, but it’s a good level.”