Last night’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester Storm rounded off a Jekyll and Hyde Halloween weekend for Edinburgh Capitals, as the Murrayfield men frustratingly failed to build on Saturday’s excellent 4-2 win at Nottingham Panthers.
Edinburgh, who took the lead after only four minutes when Pavel Vorobyev and goalscorer Mason Wilgosh combined on a nicely worked breakaway, played second fiddle for the remainder of the match, outworked by an impressive Storm outfit who have now won three of the four matches played between the sides this season.
Capitals forward Jared Staal, who did not travel to Nottingham on Saturday as wife Natalie is imminently expecting their fist child, said: “To have a huge road win against one of the league’s top teams and then come back in front of your own crowd and put out an effort like that is disappointing.
“Against a team like Manchester you’ve got to battle hard and match their intensity and we didn’t do that.
“It’s not fun losing, especially to the same team, we seem to be having trouble against them but I don’t think it’s anything we can’t fix.”
Edinburgh seemed almost soft defensively allowing Manchester’s skilled forwards time and space to make passes, as the home fans grew frustrated at an apparent lack of physicality from player-coach Michal Dobron’s men. But Staal felt that Edinburgh’s downfall was sloppy passing and admitted they could not cope with the speed of Manchester’s forwards when caught in possession.
“It’s the type of game we were playing, pretty high risk, and when we turn it over and they come back at you with a ton of speed it’s hard to slow them down on our big ice because it gives them a lot of space. It’s a product of our own game, we didn’t do ourselves any favours at all.”
It only took Manchester three minutes to cancel out Wilgosh’s opener. Capitals forward Garrett Milan gave away a cheap penalty, called for hooking after losing the puck deep in the Manchester defensive zone. Edinburgh paid the ultimate price, a blue-line blast from Trevor Johnson flew past Capitals goalie Travis Fullerton who did not see the shot due to an intelligent screen from Darian Dziurzynski.
After what was a fairly even first 20 minutes, Storm soon asserted their dominance early in the second period. Taylor Dickin, who made the move from Edinburgh to Manchester in the summer, had already blasted an effort off the bar before a turnover deep in the Manchester zone resulted in a fast break, Mario Valery-Trabucco crashing the net and poling the puck home past the exposed Fullerton in the 27th minute.
Storm scored their third – and second power-play goal of the night – as the visitors took advantage of penalties to both Wilgosh and Dobron to score a five-on-three goal with Dziurzynski finding space to rifle a low shot past Fullerton. The Canadian, at the heart of much of Manchester’s offensive play, fully deserved his man-of-the-match award.
After two periods, Edinburgh were almost out-shot two to one having fired 15 shots on Storm goalie Mike Clemente compared to 27 on the much busier Fullerton.
However, Edinburgh were frustrated as Clemente seemed to purposefully knock the net off it’s moorings on more than one occasion, resulting in stoppages in play just as Edinburgh tried to build momentum. Match referee Tom Pering saw it as accidental, as he did not call any penalties on the player.
Manchester stretched their lead to 4-1 just 35 seconds into the third period, Dziurzynski on target again. Edinburgh did manage 12 further shots on Clemente as they worked hard to get a foothold in the game, but Manchester never looked rattled, and deserved their win.