Capitals positive after pushing Fife close and beating Clan

Edinburgh Capitals can count themselves unlucky to pick up only two points following the weekend's Elite League ice hockey action, losing 4-3 to Fife Flyers at Murrayfield last night.

Capitals' Ian Schultz (nearest the goaltender) scores the first of his two goals last night.  Schultz was Capitals'  Man of the Match. Picture: Jan Orkisz/SMP
Capitals' Ian Schultz (nearest the goaltender) scores the first of his two goals last night. Schultz was Capitals' Man of the Match. Picture: Jan Orkisz/SMP

Edinburgh could not build on Saturday’s 3-2 win at Braehead Clan, despite another strong performance last night, described by Caps goalscorer Ian Schultz as “some of the best hockey we’ve managed to put together this season”.

Caps outshot Flyers 38 to 19 on the night, and the Kirkcaldy outfit can thank goalie, and man-of-the-match, Shane Owen for the win. For the first two periods in particular he was superb.

Schultz said: “It’s a tough one to take, this is probably the best weekend of hockey we’ve put together this season, a couple of bounces go the other way and we would have more than two points to show for it.

“We’ve got to take some positives away from this, we heavily outshot them, it was a great team effort but we came out on the short side.

“Shane Owen played unbelievable, he’s a great guy. I’ve played with him before and he’s a gamer. He made some big saves for them. A couple of pucks got in behind him too and their ‘D’ did a good job of clearing them out. It’s a disappointing result but we can’t be too negative about the performances this weekend.”

Edinburgh enjoyed the majority of the play in a scoreless opening period, their top scorer Pavel Vorobyev coming the closest to ruffling the feathers of the unflappable Owen when he waltzed through the Flyers defence but could not jamb the puck in at the far post.

Flyers, despite being outplayed, had the best chance late in the period when Matt Sisca was put clean through. The 
Canadian forward wheeled away in celebration as his wristed effort crashed down off the underside of the bar, however, both the goal judge and match referee Neil Wilson were in agreement that the puck did not cross the line.

Despite being outshot 19 to 7 in the second period, the visitors opened up a two-goal cushion. Sisca combined with new signing Bryan Cameron to fire a great finish beyond Edinburgh goalie Travis Fullerton for the opening goal. Caps then lost player-coach Michal Dobron to a match penalty for slew-footing in the 29th minute, the experienced Czech sent to the locker room for the remainder of the game as Fife enjoyed a five minute power-play.

Edinburgh looked to be killing the penalty well, but Cameron was sharp once again to pick out Justin Fox with a cross-ice pass and he rifled a low finish into the bottom left corner of the net for 2-0.

Fife struggled to stay out of the penalty box themselves, and Edinburgh finally pulled a goal back when enjoying a two-man power-play advantage. Schultz scored by tipping a Jacob Johnston slap-shot beyond Owen in the 36th minute.

Edinburgh endured the worst possible start to the third period, conceding just 30 seconds after the re-start. Chase Schaber netted from close range after the puck broke to him following a mistake from the otherwise excellent Schultz.

“It was a bad play by me,” Schultz said: “I got roasted out wide, there was a scramble in front of Fully and I didn’t know whether to take a man or the puck. I take onus for that one, I could have defended better and it was one of the few mistakes we made all game.”

Schultz scored his and Edinburgh’s second goal with four and a half minutes remaining, cutting into the Flyers zone at speed and, whilst still in full flow, he fired a fierce wrist shot beyond Owen.

Caps still had time to get back level. However, just seconds later Flyers’ Carlo Finucci scored a fine goal of his own to restore the two-goal lead.

A disappointed Schultz said: “You can’t take too much away from a good shot like that, he picked out the corner very well. But, you talk about the next shift after a goal is scored as being very important and standing off them and giving them one back killed the momentum and our goal meant nothing.”

With goalie Travis Fullerton pulled for the final two minutes, a strike 35 seconds from time from Yevgeni Fyodorov, who scored the winner for Edinburgh 24 hours earlier at Braehead, was not enough to change the result, but it was 
the least a strong Capitals performance deserved.