EDINBURGH CAPITALS player-coach Richard Hartmann was delighted with the fight his players showed in Friday’s 2-1 penalty-shot victory over Cardiff Devils, insisting “teamwork is the key” if their end-of-season goal of a play-off place is to be realised.
Hartmann reflected: “We had played in Sheffield two days before and finished that match with only 11 skaters. We took six hours to get back to Edinburgh, and on the day of the Cardiff game I could see we were still a little tired from that.
“When you’re tired you make silly mistakes and we had to play a certain way to give ourselves the energy to compete with Cardiff for as long as possible, and we got our tactics right. Cardiff are a good team and they skated hard, but we did really well to match them, and to win the extra point in the shoot-out could prove very important at the end of the season. But, regardless, the win is a big confidence boost for us.”
Edinburgh goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky was man of the match, making 41-saves on the night, and Hartmann praised the Slovakian for his performance, as well as a defence that was boosted by the timely addition of blue-liner Michal Benadik, who made a solid start to his second spell with the club.
Benadik began the season with MSHK Prievidza in Slovakia’s second division, but after the club went bust, had not played a competitive game for two months and Hartmann said: “Our ‘D’ deserves a lot of credit, and Hiadlovsky as he dealt with so many shots, but I don’t want to single anybody because it’s our teamwork that has led to our improved performances of late.
“Benadik did well, but he hadn’t played in two months and we gave him as much rest as we could, splitting his shifts with Jay King. He’s working hard on his conditioning, and I’m sure he’ll be up to full fitness soon.
“We needed to get a player in, and I’m really pleased we brought in a defenceman. He knows what to expect from me and I know what to expect from him, and that’s important at this stage of the season.”
Caps have won four of their last six games, but prior to that went on a horror run in which they lost 11 straight, and Hartmann continued: “Everybody wants to talk to me about that terrible run and what has changed.
“The whole team was down when we were losing, the dressing room wasn’t good and the effort wasn’t there. We weren’t fighting for each other, and nobody wanted to do the dirty work that is so important and isn’t always noticed by the fans.
“You can see the difference now, we are playing as a team, and everybody is prepared to do their bit. Teamwork is the key to our success and we must keep playing like this to make the play-offs.
“We were seven for seven on the penalty-kill against the Devils, the boys did a great job there but we need to try and stay out the box. When you have a short bench like we do, you can’t do that every night, but the guys really fought hard, everybody stepped up and that’s why we came away with the prize.”
Marcel Petran, who missed the Devils game through injury, could return within the next two weeks, but will miss the club’s two games this weekend, away to Belfast Giants on Saturday and a home match with Hull stingrays on Sunday.