Edinburgh Capitals ended a bizarre weekend of ice hockey with a 3-2 over-time loss to Fife Flyers at Murrayfield last night.
The Challenge Cup encounter, rounding off a tough run of three games in three nights for the Caps, ended all square on 60 minutes, the identical situation to Friday night’s farce in Belfast, in which match referee Dean Smith ordered the players off at full time, forgetting a five minute over-time period should have been played to decide a winner.
With Edinburgh due to play Giants on league business the following night, a match they went on to lose 5-2, Elite League bosses made the decision to force the two sides to play the extra time prior to Saturday’s match – with Giants coming out on top for an eventual 4-3 win.
Capitals’ assistant coach Jock Hay, believed it was hard to call whether the strange run of events had any bearing on the rest of their weekend, however they believed Saturday’s pre-game over-time show should not have taken place.
Hay said: “You don’t know if it had a bearing or not. You could say the team that lost it would be down in the dumps, and the winners could have been given a boost but you can never really tell. We discussed it before the league game on Saturday and told the players that the OT would take care of itself, and that the big event was the league game after it.
“In my opinion the OT should never have been played at all, never mind before another game. The result should have stood as the referee called it. Nobody else had gone into OT in our Challenge Cup group, so a ruling could have been made not to have OT in our group.”
Hay, went onto describe last night’s result, Flyers grabbing the win with a power-play overtime goal from Patrick Cullen as a sicken-er, after Caps themselves had grabbed a late equaliser, also on the power-play, through player/coach Riley Emmerson.
Hay, admitted that Caps heavy schedule had caught up with them and continued: “The guys looked jaded for two periods last night, and they did well to push so hard in the third and we got our reward with that late power-play goal, it was just unfortunate that we were short-handed again in the OT and couldn’t hold out. After battling back like we did that was a real sickener”
Edinburgh got on the board early with the only goal of the opening period after five minutes. Ryan Hayes on hand to supply the finish, after an initial rush and effort from defence-man Kyle Bigos was only partially cleared by Flyers goalie David Brown.
Things got even worse for the visitors when only a minute later, Flyers forward TJ Caig was ejected from the game by referee Steve Brown for boarding after what appeared a dangerous hit on Edinburgh’s David Rutherford, who despite appearing dazed after the incident went on to play a full part in the game.
In what was to be a theme for the home side, they could do nothing with the resulting five minute power-play, before Fife made the best possible start to the second period, scoring through Jeff Lee in the 21st minute. Edinburgh were then gifted a chance to get their noses back in front with almost two minutes of five on three, after Lee and Cullen had been sent to the penalty box.
What followed was a sequence of play, that despite a two-man advantage, Caps looked completely devoid of ideas in how to get the puck past Flyers goalie David Brown
A frustrated Hay said: “The five-on-three was not working at all, the puck was too stationary, we should have been moving it about trying to get an open space, but ended up just shooting pucks and hoping for the best and that just played right into Fife’s hands.”
Fife dominated the middle period, and deservedly took a 2-1 lead, Danny Stewart scoring a break-away goal in the 35th minute after Cullen set him up with a cross ice pass.
Edinburgh, saved their best hockey for the last ten minutes, Emmerson bringing what had been a quiet home crowd to life with his game tying goal four minutes from time.