The loss of netminder Carsen Chubak with an injury proved crucial as Edinburgh Capitals were beaten 13-9 by Manchester Storm in a crazy game at Murrayfield last night.
Perhaps the one thing Capitals fans learned last night is how difficult it is to be between the pipes for the teams with the worst defensive records in this season’s Elite League.
Edinburgh, trailing 4-1, lost starting goalie Chubak to a facial injury early in the second period, which gave some rare ice time for back-up net-minder Kevin Forshall. But he conceded eight goals from the 20 shots he faced.
The 31-year-old from Edinburgh, who has been involved in the Capitals first team set up for the last 15 years, is a much better goalie than he proved last night and although having a game he would want to forget, he was also victim of some basic defensive errors that have plagued this Capitals team all season long.
Manchester also failed to cover themselves in glory. Leading 11-4 with ten minutes left, they replaced Zane Kalemba for reserve goalie Stephen Wilcock, however, he failed to give much help as Edinburgh scored five goals in eight minutes to pull the score back to 11-9 forcing the once cruising Storm to call a time-out and put Kalemba back in goals.
Capitals player-coach Riley Emmerson, who coached from behind the bench after breaking his arm against Cardiff Devils last month, said: “That was something different, probably something no-one’s ever seen before. Forshall came in for us and he still made some big saves out there. We were all over them in the first but trailed 3-1 thanks to three bad bounces, which was unfortunate because the effort was there.
“Carson going down the way he did was also very unlucky, things just didn’t go our way.
“Guys are working hard and we’re trying to stay as positive as possible, but there are a couple of guys who could and need to be better.”
The one bright spot for Edinburgh was an impressive home debut for new Canadian import signing Garrett Milan. Listed as 5ft 7in, he may have been the smallest player on the ice but he possessed the biggest engine and the hard working, speedy winger will surely become a fan favourite after signing a deal until the end of the season.
Emmerson continued: “Garrett came in and he played really well and was like a breath of fresh air for us. He’s like an energy ball, and a very good player who wants to prove himself for next season. He gives his all every shift and that’s the type of player we want to see in a Caps uniform.”
In an even first period, Edinburgh were unlucky to find themselves 2-0 down early as Storm scored through David Phillips and a deflected shot from Omar Pacha.
Taylor Dickin pulled one back for Edinburgh with a five-on-three power-play goal, however, the home side lost any momentum after two failed passes from his defensive zone by Capitals blue-liner Kyle Flemington in the 18th minute which allowed Vinny Scarsella to intercept and score after Chubak had saved his initial effort.
Early in the second period, after Matthew Sisca had already scored Storm’s fourth goal, the puck struck Chubak to the face, somehow bypassing his mask and striking him just above the eye. Forshall, who played the entire third period, conceding two goals in Saturday’s 8-1 thrashing by Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy, came in to replace him.
The game soon degenerated into some sort of pre-season scrimmage with Storm scoring at ease to build up their commanding seven-goal lead with ten minutes to go through David Philips, Devin Didiomete (2), Mike Folkes, Luke Salazar and two further goals for Scarsella to complete his hat-trick, with Caps replying through a second goal of the game for Dickin, Kyke Bigos and Brandon Thompson.
With the introduction of Wilcock, Edinburgh really ate into the huge Storm lead through goals from Ned Luckacevic, Nikita Kolesnikovs, Trevor Gerling, Flemington and a deserved goal for Milan to pull it back to 11-9 with two minutes still to go.
But the visitors to steadied the ship with the re-introduction of Kalemba and scored late goals from Grant Toulmin and a last-second empty-net strike from Patrik Valcak.