Edinburgh Capitals face off at Braehead Clan tomorrow before rounding off their weekend by entertaining Dundee Stars at Murrayfield and forward Dylan Anderson has challenged his team-mates to “step up and fill the void” left by leading scorer Marek Tvrdon, who quit the club earlier this week.
Tvrdon asked to be released from his contract after hearing of a family illness. He has returned to Slovakia in order to find a team closer to home.
Last Sunday, Tvrdon – playing on a line with Anderson and Mike Cazzola – scored twice in what was to be his last game for the club, helping Edinburgh halt a disastrous 13-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over Coventry Blaze.
In truth, the 24-year-old drifted in and out of games, but he looked to be striking up a rapport with Cazzola and Anderson.
Anderson – who himself has only just returned from an injury that saw him miss nine games – said: “It’s always difficult when one of your best players and leading scorer leaves the team, but you just have to adjust. Nothing stops, we’ve just got to play the game. It’s going to be tough, but we just need to work with what we have.
“Cazzola, myself and Marek played together for the first part of the season, then I got hurt. I’m back playing again and we had some chemistry on our line.
“It’s definitely a loss scoring-wise. Guys are just going to have to step up and fill the void.
“It felt really nice to get that win, the fans were great and really supportive. We played a good game and whenever you win, it lifts everybody’s spirits.
“Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going into this weekend.”
Coming up for three months into the Elite League season, Tvrdon becomes the fifth player to depart the team and, although the club are confident of landing a new signing next week, head coach Dmitri Khristich will shuffle his pack once more for the trip to Braehead, with Latvian international Juris Upitis expected to join Anderson and Cazzola on the Capitals’ first line.
Caps have failed to get the better of Clan in their three competitive meetings this season, Clan winning 5-2 when the two sides met at Murrayfield earlier this month. It was a night where Edinburgh’s defence failed to cope with the speed of Tyler Scofield and 37-year old GB international Brendan Brooks, who despite being the oldest man on the ice that night, was also the quickest.
Anderson continued: “We were good in parts of that game, but they really came out in the third period.
“Braehead, like all the teams in this league, are a good team but, if we can keep skating, especially on our big ice, we are effective and we’ll create chances offensively.
“To combat their speed, you want the right defensive match-up and help from the forwards. Leaving a third guy high, having back-pressure when you’re back-checking and picking up our guys in the defensive zone will all help our ‘D’ contain any top line in the league.”
Caps have had more luck against Sunday’s opponents Dundee, winning the last two games between the teams. However, Stars, despite suffering a number of injuries, look a different proposition to the team Edinburgh beat 7-2 at the Dundee ice Arena last month.
Dundee have pulled nine points clear of Edinburgh at the foot of the table with recent wins over current league champions Cardiff Devils, as well as Belfast Giants and Manchester Storm.
Anderson added: “We did beat Dundee a couple of times earlier in the season, but they’ve beaten teams like Cardiff recently and have been playing some good hockey. We just have to play our best game, whatever team we play.”