Ice Hockey: New Slovakian star will boost options for embattled club

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EDINBurgh CAPITALS suffered another dispiriting weekend, shipping 16 goals and scoring just once but player/coach Richard Hartmann today announced help is on its way.

Hartmann says a new Slovakian defenceman, who played in Poland last season, is set to fly in to assist the paper-thin backline this week, and Hartmann himself may be back on the ice instead of on the bench if intensive treatment for a shoulder injury brings results.

The Murrayfield men need assistance as they have now lost their first three Elite League games. The 5-1 home defeat by Nottingham Panthers in their league opener was followed by an 8-1 defeat at Belfast Giants on Saturday, Rene Jarolin scoring Caps’ only goal. Panthers mauled Capitals 8-0 at the Riversdale rink last night outshooting them 51-25, however once again, despite the score, netminder Nathan Craze was in the groove.

Panthers penned Capitals into their own end for lengthy spells with the home team mostly confined to breakaways. However, Capitals did have chances but failed to take them.

Hartmann admitted: “We made a few mistakes. Clubs like Nottingham will score against you if you make mistakes. It does not matter what team you are in. If you make mistakes in hockey then you are punished.

“The less mistakes you make the more chance you have of winning games. Any positives? Yes, we are working hard and we created a lot of chances against Nottingham, which is good.”

However, he stressed that the team spent 25 hours on the road at the weekend getting to Belfast and back and that he has not had a lot of time to work with his new charges.

Hartmann, a forward from Slovakia, added: “I am proud of the guys, but we need extra bodies. However, I don’t want to pick out some players. We win as a team and lose as a team and, right now, we are not scoring many goals.”

He will work on curing those mistakes ahead of this weekend’s Challenge Cup double-header at Fife Flyers on Saturday and at home to Braehead Clan on Sunday (6.00pm).

The cup games will come as a relief from the grind of the league but failure to deliver this weekend could have a serious affect on moral.

Nottingham, last season’s play-off and Challenge Cup winners, brought a large contingent of noisy fans with them for their Scottish double-header which included a 6-2 victory at Kirkcaldy on Saturday.

They added to the atmosphere last night but the home fans had little to cheer about during a one-sided game. The writing was on the wall early as Panthers homed in on Craze. He faced five shots in a row before David Bearegard broke through in the sixth minute.

Four minutes later Matt Myers made it 2-0 and 57 seconds after that it was Jeff Heerema who increased the advantage.

The fourth arrived from the stick of razor-sharp Beauregard in the 16th minute and by then any entertainment value had vanished for the home faithfull who had resigned themselves to another drubbing for their struggling team.

Panthers were relentless and put another two goals past Craze in the middle session from Scott Champagne and David Clarke, followed by another double in the third.

Beauregard completed his hat-trick in the 49th minute and Clarke finished things off with less than nine minutes remaining.

Rick Strachan, Panthers’ bench coach and a former Sky TV pundit, said: “We set out to impose ourselves on Edinburgh early. It was great weekend for us with the win in Fife on Saturday. We also came out of the weekend with no injuries and that’s great as we have Hull on Wednesday and Belfast on Saturday and then Dundee on Sunday.

“Edinburgh work hard but it is tough for the guys playing with a short bench. Hopefully, they’ll get some bodies in to help them.

“However, we’re moving in the right direction and we’re getting 100 per cent from the guys which is all a coach can ask for.”