Edinburgh Capitals ended their disappointing Elite League season with a 4-3 loss after penalty shots to Gardiner Conference champions Braehead Clan at Murrayfield last night.
Clan had their forward – league top scorer Matt Beca – to thank, the sharp-shooter with two goals in regulation before converting a successful penalty-shot which was enough to pick up a deserved man-of-the-match award.
The result ensured Caps ended their campaign with a nine-game losing streak at home.
Edinburgh’s Mason Wilgosh, whose goal to make it 3-3 with two and a half minutes remaining forced overtime, could have won it for the Murrayfield men in the extra frame, but his effort from the tightest of angles, with Clan goalie Gary Russell pulled out of position, hit the post.
Braehead had the majority of the play in the game’s opening minutes, Stefan Della Rovere forcing a Travis Fullerton pad save in the opening seconds, the pick of several early stops from the Capitals goalie. Garrett Milan and Ian Schultz both had break-out opportunities from their own zone, but that was all Edinburgh could muster in reply.
However, Caps scored the opening goal against the run-of play as a clean face-off win in the Clan zone set up a Jacob Johnston slap-shot that Schultz re-directed beyond Russell.
Caps, buoyed by their goal, came close to doubling their lead when a Michael D’Orazio slap-shot hit the inside of the post, the puck then flashing across, but not over the goal-line.
Clan ensured the opening period ended all square with a 14th minute equaliser when Edinburgh’s defence were left chasing shadows behind the goal and Beca was left all alone in the slot to beat Fullerton.
The second period was a much more even handed affair, Caps coming close to taking the lead on an early power-play opportunity before penalty trouble of their own put them on the back foot. Three Clan power-plays including 28 seconds of five-on-three were doggedly defended by Edinburgh.
And the home side were rewarded for their hard work when a Michal Dobron break up the ice was finished by Matt Tipoff.
Braehead came out much stronger in the third period, Beca equalising for a second time when scoring at the third attempt after Fullerton had made two excellent stops in succession.
The home side, on the summer wind down after missing out on the play-offs, looked tired and Braehead went ahead with 14 minutes remaining, through Jay Rosehill.
Edinburgh looked down and out, before an inspired final flourish with six minutes left had Russell working hard between the pipes, Wilgosh finally beating the Clan goalie after great build up play from Schultz and Karel Hromas.