Edinburgh CAPITALS forward Bari McKenzie believes his team must now rediscover what it takes to win after losing to Cardiff Devils 5-3 at Murrayfield last night.
In an entertaining game, the home side led 3-1 with less than ten minutes left, but the match turned with four unanswered Devils goals – including two in the last 90 seconds – condemning the Capitals to their sixth straight Elite League defeat.
Shell-shocked McKenzie said: “We played really well for 50 minutes. Two goals up with ten minutes to go, we should never have lost that game.”
“Once they scored to make it 3-2 they had the momentum and started to dominate. We need to get back to winning ways, obviously we’ve not won in a few games. We’ve not been playing with a lot of confidence lately.
I think there is a lot of positives we can take from tonight. We played well for the most part, and made a few mistakes late on, which they capitalised on.”
Conversely, it was the Welsh outfit’s fifth straight victory, and for Devils man of the match Phill Hill, it proved the old adage that winning breeds confidence. He said: “It was a game that went right down to the wire, it could have gone either way, and we just bore down and luckily seemed to get on a roll late on.”
“Last season we got off to a slow start and it cost us the title, and we’ve had a similar problem this year. Now the guys are buying into the system and playing the way we need to play, it’s like any sport, once you start winning you build some momentum, you get used to winning and it becomes a habit.”
Cardiff opened the scoring in the 28th minute. A fierce blast from Devils captain Brad Voth was kept out by Nathan Craze in the Capitals’ net, but the power of the shot knocked Craze out of position and Scott Dobben managed to beat the Capitals defence to the loose puck and poke it into the empty net.
Parity was restored five minutes later. A lovely series of passes between Jiri Hanzal and player-coach Richard Hartmann allowed the latter to centre the puck for McKenzie to squeeze it past net-minder Stevie Lyle from close range.
Devils were then stung into action and forced three superb stops from Craze in as many minutes, the pick of the bunch from Jeff Pierce.
Capitals appeared to have taken control of the game in the third period with two power play strikes a minute apart from Rene Jarolin. That double now takes the impressive Slovakian’s total to 26.
Edinburgh looked the more likely to add to their lead, before referee Neil Wilson called Tomas Valecko for a four-minute accidental high sticks penalty at 47.28. The power play opportunity seemed to breathe new life into the Devils and they made it a one goal game at 51.24, English defenceman Mark Richardson joined the attack and wedged himself right in front of goal, before receiving a pass from behind the net and sliding the puck past Craze.
Three minutes later Capitals were again undone by a carbon copy of the Devils second goal. Ben Davies was allowed to skate behind the Capitals net before providing a neat backhand pass for Brad Voth to fire a shot into the top right hand corner.
Capitals were given a power play opportunity with four minutes left, but could not make it count, and were punished at 58.39, Canadian Stuart MacRae firing home after Edinburgh had a chance to clear their lines.
Ben Davies completed the scoring for the visitors 33 seconds later, the talented 20-year-old Welshman using a defender as a screen to fire a rocket of a shot past an unsighted Craze.