Despite a third-period fightback through goals from Rene Jarolin and Greg Collins, Edinburgh Capitals fell just short at Murrayfield last night, losing 3-2 after sudden death-overtime to high-flying Sheffield Steelers.
Gord Baldwin scored the winner, one minute 24 seconds into overtime.
Caps were missing Jade Portwood through injury and have yet to sign a replacement for Lukas Bohunicky, who left the club last week.
Bench coach Jock Hay said: “Overall it was a good performance, especially since we were two imports down. We let in a couple of soft goals, but we battled hard and did really well to get back to 2-2, and we had a couple of good chances towards the end to win it. Sheffield are such a fast team and were right on top of us early on, but the goals we conceded were down to bad communication on our part. We spoke about that in the dressing-room after the first period and from that point on we cut down on our turnovers, and just tried to remain patient, we knew we would get chances, we just had to take them when they came around.”
Caps won a valuable league point for their efforts, but now find themselves two points outside a play-off place after Coventry Blaze beat Cardiff Devils in Wales last night. Edinburgh host both Fife Flyers and Blaze at Murrayfield this weekend.
“We’re right in the nitty-gritty of the season now,” admitted Hay. “Every game is huge for us no matter who it’s against. We need to be ready to play every time we jump over the barrier and that’s what we’ll be looking for in training this week.”
Edinburgh struggled to cope with some slick early Steelers play and Mike Forney opened Sheffield’s account in the 14th minute, scoring on the power-play, converting a quick cross-ice pass from Matihieu Roy, low past Caps’ goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky. Caps conceded a disappointing second goal in the closing seconds of the first period, Loren Barron attempted to bring down the puck from midair after a harmless looking shot from Steelers defenders Mark Thomas, but managed only to divert it into the path of Steelers’ on-rushing GB international forward Robert Dowd, who was presented with the simplest of finishes past a wrong-footed Hiadlovsky.
Sheffield continued to have the better chances in the second period, but Hiadlovsky kept the home side in the game with some athletic goaltending, however Caps did show glimpses of what was to come with both Dennis Rix and man-of-the-match Marcel Petran going close.
Jarolin pulled Caps back in the 43rd minute, ghosting between the Steelers defence to finish smartly after good build up play from Barron and Daniel Naslund. Edinburgh were buoyed by the goal and took just five minutes to draw level, Collins scoring for the fifth game in succession with a quick shot after being set up by Riley Emmerson.