Capitals blow lead late on after huge blunder

Neil Hay and Martin Cingel can't find a way through the Clan defence
Neil Hay and Martin Cingel can't find a way through the Clan defence
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Edinburgh Capitals blew a big chance to beat high-fling Braehead Clan at Murrayfield last night.

Leading 3-2 with less than a minute remaining and with a two man power-play advantage, Capitals missed a golden opportunity pick up their first win in ten games, eventually losing 4-3 after penalty shots.

Jock Hay, Capitals’ assistant coach, thought he had seen everything during his 40 years involved in ice hockey, but could not believe his eyes after “a massive defensive blunder” gifted the visitors a late lifeline.

Jan Safar lost control of the puck close to his own goal line, allowing Clan forward Ed McGrane to score an unlikely shorthanded equaliser.

Hay, who in the absence of suspended player-coach Richard Hartmann, called the shots from behind the bench, said: “I thought I had seen everything in ice hockey, but there’s always something that pops up to surprise you.

“Braehead lost the plot taking penalties and playing right into our hands.

“We had a five on three power-play. Everything was in our favour. It should have been an easy game to close, but a total blunder at the back gifted them an equaliser. The puck should never have been up there in the first place. We should have been able to keep possession at the other end, but we were sleeping at face-offs and allowing them to break. It was all round slack play.

“It’s frustrating because although we turned the puck over too much, in the main we played a solid game against a good Clan team, (goalie) Tomas (Hiadlovsky) made some big saves and Curtis (Leinweber) scored two lovely goals – it was great to see him looking like his old self again.”

Clan forwards Joel Champagne and Neil Trimm had the visitors two up after 20 minutes, before a rare goal from Danny McIntyre was the first of three in ten minutes for the home side, Leinweber equalising, before finishing off a nice three-man move involving Jaroslav Cesky and Jade Portwood, to turn the game on its head.

With Hiadlovsky making 38 saves, battling Caps looked to have done enough for the win, but McGrane’s late equaliser proved otherwise. With no goals in the five minute overtime period, Clan’s Joe Cullen scored the shoot-out winner, keeping the Glasgow outfit second in the standings, 20 points behind run-away leaders Belfast Giants.