Capitals 0, Milton Keynes Lightning 3: Chances go begging

Things get a little heated in front of the Milton Keynes net. Pic: Ian Coyle
Things get a little heated in front of the Milton Keynes net. Pic: Ian Coyle
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Edinburgh Capitals winger Patrik Moisio cut a bitterly disappointed figure following tonight’s 3-0 loss to Milton Keynes Lightning at Murrayfield.

It was a committed performance from the home side, despite losing the services of experienced forward Pavel Vorobyev and defenceman Nikita Kolesnikovs, who both quit the club last week.

Capitals could not find a way past red-hot Milton Keynes goalie, Jindrich Pacl, who made several top-drawer stops, shutting Edinburgh out in a 31-save performance, before Lightning GB international forward, Jonathan Boxill, wrapped up the points with an empty-net goal 30 seconds from time.

The defeat followed Saturday’s narrow 5-4 loss away to Dundee Stars, and Moisio, who picked up Edinburgh’s man-of-the-match award in both games, said: “The only thing that matters is winning, I don’t care about these awards, I had so many chances in both games, I just couldn’t score, I think a goal will come soon.

“All we can do is keep working hard and give 100 per cent, we didn’t have the luck tonight, hopefully we’ll win the next one.”

In what started out as a cagey affair, Capitals’ centre Mike Cazzola put Igor Valeyev clean through the sixth minute, but he shot wide. Edinburgh’s man between the pipes, Tyler Beskorowany, pulled off a good stop from Lewis Hook, the rebound fell invitingly just outside the crease, but a Caps stick cleared the danger before Lightning could strike.

In the 11th minute Sergei Banashkov, who scored twice in Saturday’s loss on Tayside, raced clear and with slick hands pulled the puck wide beyond Pacl but failed to jamb the puck inside the Czech’s right-hand post.

The game was beginning to open up, Lightning edging the first period shots on goal count ten to nine, and they took the lead in the 16th minute. Caps almost scored seconds earlier, Cazzola’s tip from a D’Orazio slap-shot well saved by Pacl, the rebound fell to a Milton Keynes stick, who then broke down the left, before letting a shot go from the circle, the puck striking Beskorowany and looping over his head, before being bundled home by Glenn Billing.

Caps really should have finished the period all-square. With Francis Verrault-Paul already in the sin bin for slashing, Edinburgh were given nearly a minute of a two-man advantage when Evan Stoflet received a double minor penalty for roughing after an altercation with Moisio. But Pacl,with an excellent stop from a fierce Ainars Podzins effort, kept the home side at bay.

Early in the second period Caps wasted another glorious chance to get back in the game, this time unable to take advantage of a full two minute five-on-three opportunity, with Kevin King and Stoflet in the box – two shots on goal was all Caps could muster.

Moisio, a mid-season arrival from Coventry Blaze, has quickly made a name for himself as a player who gets right under the skin of opponents, with his robust style of play.

“It’s a little bit like that,” agreed Moisio. “But they got angry tonight because we were concentrating on playing hockey,” before cracking his only smile of the interview and adding: “But a little joke at the right time also helps.”

Caps were made to pay for their wasteful power-play efforts on the half-hour when Verrault-Paul showed great strength on the puck to skate rings round the Caps defence, and with the home fans screaming for a hit to be laid as he bounced off or evaded challenges, his eventual shot was tipped in by Lewis Hook.

Milton Keynes won their first power-play of the night soon after, courtesy of a Cazzola tripping penalty – much to the delight of the loud travelling support – but it was Banashkov who came closest to scoring, breaking clear short-handed, Pacl once again coming up trumps with the save.

Edinburgh played their best hockey of the night in the third period, out-shooting Milton Keynes 12 to five, as the game fizzed one way then the other.

Capitals player-coach Michael D’Orazio pulled Beskorowany for an extra skater with over four minutes left. Edinburgh besieged Pacl’s net, only for him to stand tall once more, the pick of his saves coming right at the death, batting away a Cazzola effort with his stick after the Canadian had brought him to his knees with some fancy stick work. Boxill scoring from his own half with the empty net strike just seconds later.