Poor discipline costs Edinburgh Capitals dear

Fife's netminder Kevin Regan stops Custis Leinweber's shot with his body.
Fife's netminder Kevin Regan stops Custis Leinweber's shot with his body.
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Edinburgh Capitals failed to register a win in the opening weekend of the new ice hockey season after going down 2-1 to arch rivals Fife Flyers at Murrayfield last night.

Capitals captain Martin Cingel agreed with player-coach Richard Hartmann that indiscipline was to blame for the defeat and admitted he was “disappointed in himself” after conceding two penalties in the game’s final minutes that he felt killed any chance his side had of taking something from the Challenge Cup clash.

With five minutes left of a tight game, in which both teams missed key players and displayed signs of early season rustiness, Edinburgh were looking to take advantage of a late power-play opportunity, when seven seconds later referee Rab Cowan called Cingel for interference, before calling a tripping penalty on the same player with only a minute of the game remaining.

Cingel said: “Not to take anything from tonight is disappointing especially as we were the home team and it was against our biggest rivals. We played shorthanded tonight but that’s no excuse as Fife had guys missing too.

“I agree that we took too many penalties and I have to hold my hands up and take the blame for two of them late on. We had a chance on the power-play and I took a penalty, and then I took another one in the last minute when we were looking to take our goalie off for the extra skater. I have to say that I’m disappointed in myself.”

On Saturday night, in their opening game of the season, Capitals lost 5-0 away to Belfast Giants and only returned to Edinburgh at 5am on Sunday morning. Hartmann felt the long journey played a part in last night’s result.

He said: “We made too many mistakes, and turnovers killed us. We lost our discipline and took too many penalties. In the second period we played half the game with only four men and when you do that it’s hard to keep up with the play. In saying that, Fife played at home on Saturday and we had a long trip back from Belfast, we were definitely tired, and it doesn’t help when you take stupid 
penalties.”

Edinburgh, who were with Jordan Steel after he injured his shoulder and new Czech forward Tomas Horna through illness, lost Jade Portwood early in the second period when he was caught in the face by a high stick from 
Flyers’ Danny Stewart. Capitals scored from the resulting power-play, Curtis Leinweber on hand to convert after an initial shot from Hartmann was saved by Fife goalie Kevin Regan.

Flyers drew level with a power-play goal of their own in the 31st minute, Bobby Chaumont finishing neatly at the back post after a smart cross-ice pass from Justin DaCosta deceived the Capitals defence. The visitors scored what turned out to be the winner seven minutes later. Stewart flipped the puck from behind the net up into the air towards a crowded crease, the puck appeared to hit Cingel on the back and trickle past Tomas Hiadlovsky.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh resident and former Elite League and international referee Moray Hanson, who this week was unveiled as the Elite league’s new head of discipline and referee in chief, took to the ice at last night’s game to receive his induction into British ice hockey’s hall of fame. Hanson, a goalie in his playing days, backstopped Murrayfield Racers to league and cup success in the 1980s and 90s and also played for Great Britain in the World Championships.

Hanson, who retired from refereeing last year, said: “I’m really pleased to be back involved with the sport. Any disciplinary matters will be looked into by me, and I will also supervise the league officials. We’ll never get the officiating perfect, but I’m hoping people will soon see more consistency across the league.”