Slate wiped clean as Caps aim to close gap on Flyers

Richard Hartmann celebrates scoring against Braehead Clan
Richard Hartmann celebrates scoring against Braehead Clan
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Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann has called for his players to begin 2014 with a new attitude as they prepare to face Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy tonight.

Struggling Caps ended the year on a high with a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Flyers at Murrayfield on Hogmanay. A second win in five days over the Fifers would close the gap at the foot of the table between the sides to just two points.

Hartmann said: “This is the start of a new year for us and I want us to have a new attitude, a new belief in ourselves.

“Our big problem has been consistency and that comes from guys not believing in the player next to him. As long as we put the effort in and trust one another to do the right thing we’ll be fine. That’s what pleased me most about the win on Hogmanay. The effort the boys put in and the belief they showed that they could win the game even when we went 2-0 down. In fact, we came back twice as we also trailed 3-2, so that’s doubly pleasing.”

It was Edinburgh’s first win in seven over their rivals from across the Forth, but Hartmann believes the recent success will have no bearing on tonight’s game. “Every game is different,” he said. “The slate is wiped clean and what has happened before does not matter. The only thing that remains the same from our point of view is that to be successful we have to play like we did on Tuesday, and if we want to start climbing the table and make a run for the play-offs that goes for the rest of the season, too. That’s the new attitude I’m talking about.”

Including tomorrow’s home clash with Coventry Blaze (face-off 6pm), Edinburgh will have played six games in 11 days, and Hartmann has been pleased with how his team have coped with the busy schedule, physically at least.

He said: “We train hard all season for times like this, and the boys have been putting the effort in to be ready for tonight. Physically, we’ve coped well with the run of games we’ve had – any problems have been down to mental mistakes.”

Hogmanay hat-trick hero Tomas Horna, whose man-of-the-match display has completed a turn-around in form for the former Czech internationalist, echoed his coach’s sentiments and said: “It was a great feeling to finish the year like that, and it definitely helped with the partying afterwards. We’re just happy that we got the win and we’re looking to carry that forward and get on a winning streak.”

Horna, 33, who has played over 500 games in Czech Republic’s top-flight, admitted to feeling the pressure of a slow start in his first season in British hockey. But now, with 15 goals to his name, he believes he’s put that behind him.

He said: “At the start of the season I wasn’t doing so well and, yes, I was feeling the pressure. It’s something I’ve been used to throughout my career.

“Playing back home you are always under pressure, whether you are in a top team or fighting relegation. I knew when I came here what I was signing up for and what was expected of me – and now I feel like after a couple of months I’ve started to get going. I’ll keep working hard and hopefully the goals will keep going in. It’s what I’ve come here to do, and I just want to help the team win games.”