Edinburgh Capitals captain Michael D’Orazio admits his team left the ice “embarrassed” following last night’s 7-3 defeat by Fife Flyers at Murrayfield.
The result sees Edinburgh crash out of the Challenge Cup, Flyers punishing Caps for ten terrible minutes of ice hockey midway through the second period after the home side arguably looked the best team in the opening half hour.
D’Orazio did not shirk from some difficult post-game questions and said: “It was really ugly, we shoot ourselves in the foot second period every game, just turn-over after turn-over. We’re just not playing the right way and we need to get something figured out to get into better shape for next weekend.”
Caps were unlucky to fall behind after just 90 seconds. Whether by accident or design, a Liam Heelis dump fired into the back boards rebounded perfectly to him as he rushed forward and he was able to blast a shot beyond Edinburgh goalie Pavel Shegalo.
Caps were unlucky to go into the first-period break trailing, both Marek Tvrdon and Mike Cazzola failed to hit the net from the slot, and Flyers stopper Andy Iles did well to deny Dillon Lawrence after another wacky rebound off the Murrayfield boards afforded the Canadian a great chance.
Caps tied things up soon after the interval, however, when Sergei Banashkov, who scored Edinburgh’s insurance goal in Saturday’s 6-4 win at Belfast Giants, caught Iles out with a nifty move from behind the net.
Flyers regained the lead quickly, however. After being unlucky not to score from a well-worked move fired wide by Evan Bloodoff the same player set up Peter Leblanc who made no mistake with the finish.
Edinburgh’s Cazzola made it 2-2 30 seconds later in a game that Caps needed to win to keep their Challenge Cup hopes alive, and at that point the tie had barnstormer written all over it.
However, both teams had other ideas. Flyers upped their work rate and Caps went to sleep defensively. Chase Schaber and Bloodoff were ignored despite standing inches away from Shegalo and both scored tap-ins.
Frankly, Edinburgh showed no desire to protect their goalkeeper, and a complete lack of effort afforded Fife a fifth goal scored in the final second of the period through Bloodoff who bulldozed his way through four Capitals players and applied the final touch whilst flat on his belly.
“They wanted it more, it was pretty evident out there,” commented D’Orazio: “We’re trying to be all fancy and make the perfect play, it doesn’t work that way; you’ve got to work hard in the dirty areas, and just get shots on net, like every other team does against us. We need to protect our net better, myself included. I got caught out for their third goal. You just have a split second to react, but there are no excuses.
“On Saturday too I felt Belfast controlled large chunks of the game, we came out with a win and we’ll take it, but this has been far from a good weekend for us.”
A shell-shocked Edinburgh returned for the third period that was a complete non event, unfortunate in front of a good sized home support. The only bright spot for Caps was a goal for Alexander Islamov. Bloodoff scored his hat-trick, deflecting an Ian Young slap-shot, and Charlie Mosey with an almost identical goal with five minutes to play completed the scoring for a rampant Flyers.
D’Orazio concluded: “We looked the better team in the first period but started to play as individuals.
“There are a lot of different styles that have come to the team this year – North Americans, Russians – all who play a different way. It’s going to take some time for Dmitri (head coach Dmitri Khristich) to get his teachings through to us. But there are no excuses, for that ten minute spell in the second period we were just embarrassing.”