Capitals pounce as Stars lose discipline

Juris Upitis, left, slams the puck home to open Capitals account as Sergei Banashkov, right, closes in. Pic: Ian Coyle
Juris Upitis, left, slams the puck home to open Capitals account as Sergei Banashkov, right, closes in. Pic: Ian Coyle
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A first-period purple patch, in which Edinburgh Capitals scored four goals in three minutes, was the key to beating Dundee Stars 5-3 at Murrayfield last night, according to Capitals forward, and man of-the-match, Sergei Banashkov.

A high-stick from Stars player Cameron McGiffen to the face of Denis Trakhanov, and a delay of game penalty to Riley Stadel, gifted Edinburgh a huge five-on-three power-play, Caps scoring three goals with the extra man, before a fourth from Banashkov seconds later proved to be the game winner in the battle of the two teams propping up the Elite League.

In a scrappy opening the visitors had the better of the clear-cut chances, and only a goal-line clearance from Capitals’ captain Michael D’Orazio kept Stars out in the fourth minute.

Stars took a deserved lead midway through the first period, Johan Anderson already on the move, took a pass from Stars’ player-coach Omar Pacha to burst into the Capitals zone at speed and rip a shot beyond Capitals netminder Pavel Shegalo.

Stars dominated after the goal, the humming extractor fans at Murrayfield cutting through the silence of the home crowd, before the game was completely turned out it’s head after quarter of an hour, as Stars threw the game away on the penalty kill, Edinburgh scoring through Juris Upitis, a first of the season for Konstantin Teslyukevich, and a Dylan Anderson back-hand effort, before, as Stars finally returned to full strength, Banashkov sprung a shell-shocked Stars back-line, and fired the puck between the pads of former Capitals stopper Travis Fullerton, to score Edinburgh’s fourth at 18 minutes and 47 seconds.

Banashkov said: “That four minute, five-on-three power-play we had was so important. To score four goals in that short spell really helped us focus on our own game going into the second period, and getting the two points.

“We knew we still had a lot to do, coach (Dmitri Khristich) was just telling us to try and get more shots off and get ourselves to the net.”

Dundee had looked the better team five-on-five, and came out all guns blazing after the interval, scoring within a minute of the restart. Forward, Brian Hart, showed great strength to hold off the attentions of the Capitals defence, and deserved his luck, when his weak back-hand shot took a deflection to sneak beyond Shegalo at his right hand post.

A terrible Capitals line change saw Marc-Olivier Mimar go one-on-one against Shegalo and score Stars’ third goal in the 28th minute, and Dundee should have equalised short-handed, Shegalo saving a Jimmy Jenson break-away after Teslyukevich had lost the puck on the Stars blue line.

Crucially, Caps broke back up the ice to make it 5-3, Mike Cazzola on the power-play, sweeping home a Dylan Anderson cross-ice pass at 34 minutes and 11 seconds.

Banashkov continued: “At the end of the second period we had a good talk in the locker room about not losing focus and helping each other on the ice.

“All these games are so important, we had a run where we lost so many games that we need to always give our best.

“We can only look forward, and we need to keep winning games.”

Stars out-shot the home side 13 to eight in the final period but Shegalo, after a nervy start to the game, no doubt caused by Saturday’s 8-2 hammering at Braehead Clan, looked more assured in the latter stages, making sure Edinburgh held on for only their third league win this season to move within seven points of Dundee at the foot of the table.