EDINBURGH CAPITALS coach Jock Hay has urged the Murrayfield team to build on victory over Fife Flyers and climb off the bottom of ice hockey’s Elite League.
Czech forward Tomas Horna scored a hat-trick including the winning goal with less than five minutes remaining to secure the Caps a 4-3 derby win on Hogmanay.
Hay has hailed the result as a real confidence boost for 2014 as the club look to get back into play-off contention.
Reflecting on a game in which goals from Flyers forwards Bobby Chaumont and Danny Stewart left the home side trailing 2-0 early in the second period, Hay said: “It was a good win and a real confidence booster as we’ve been a bit inconsistent of late, to the point that you never quite know what you’re going to get with us. It was a good battling performance and it’s something we can build.
“To win after trailing by two goals is especially pleasing as we’ve been quick to let our heads go down when falling behind. Our second periods have not been great, and it’s when we’ve often had that poor spell for five or ten minutes that we don’t recover from, but we put in a really solid 20 minutes which turned things in our favour. It was as good a second period as we’ve put together all season and we scored three goals which really changed the complexion of the game.”
The result was a complete contrast to the subdued silence that met Sunday’s poor 7-3 home loss to Braehead Clan and Hay continued: “Such a solid performance so soon after a disappointing result against Braehead, where we made some stupid mistakes, was great for the boys and it’s good to get the dressing-room rocking again and get back on the winning trail.”
Two Horna goals had tied the game before a second of the afternoon from Chaumont edged the Flyers back ahead. Capitals’ Latvian sniper Marcis Zembergs then scored his first goal in six games to restore parity at 34:40.
In an encounter full of penalties the scene was set for special teams to have a big role to play, and so it proved when, with the only goal of the final period, Horna scored the winner and Edinburgh’s third power-play goal of the match at 56:34.
In his first year in the British game, Horna, a former Czech internationalist, now has 15 goals, which coupled with 12 assists puts him third in the team in the scoring stakes and Hay said: “After a really slow start, where to be fair to him he was getting over some injury and illness problems where he just wasn’t able to play to his full potential, his game has just been picking up all the time, and he’s now showing just how good a player he can be.”
Edinburgh’s win, their first in seven over their oldest rivals, closes the gap at the foot of the table to four points behind the Flyers, and with the two sides due to meet again in Kirkcaldy on Saturday, Hay added: “To play them again so quickly perhaps there has been a wee momentum shift in our favour,” he said. “But, they are very strong at home and I’m expecting it will be a case of all hands to the pump.
“Playing away in this league is difficult, everybody – including ourselves – has a good home record and you just need to roll up your sleeves and make sure you are in position to take anything you are given.”