Edinburgh Capitals were blown away 9-3 by Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy tonight, a performance bench-coach Jock Hay labelled “embarrassing” admitting a change of attitude is required if the Murrayfield men are to arrest their recent run of heavy defeats.
Unfortunately, time for any post-mortem examination is limited, Edinburgh are back in action this evening, at home to Braehead Clan (face-off 6:30pm) and no doubt the Glasgow outfit will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing an Edinburgh team who look to lack the fight required to remain competitive in an Elite League season that still has three months to run.
Edinburgh were no match for Fife, who were missing three key players and had lost their past five games, and they threw in the towel after two periods, leaving their travelling support shaking their heads come the final whistle.
There were contributing factors. Edinburgh lost Ian Schultz as early as the second minute to a late hit into the boards that went unpunished by match referee Toby Craig, just one of a number of perplexing calls including when Fife, leading 5-2, were awarded a penalty shot to Flyers’ Ryan Dingle after the game’s star player, who went on to score a hat-trick, skated into the goalpost.
An angry Hay said: “Defensively we were shocking, we just weren’t picking up our guys. We’ve been embarrassed and that’s unacceptable against your local rivals.
“The officiating was bad but that in no way cost us the game, but it did add to our frustration. Fife are far from the best team in the league and if we play like that again tonight you’ll see exactly the same result.
“We need to change something because clearly things aren’t working.
“Our players need to look at themselves and ask if they really want to be playing this game. We need to be working harder and playing smarter, we need a change in attitude and it needs to happen now.”
Edinburgh were out-hustled and out-worked too often by a Fife team who were a step ahead of the pace throughout. Flyers’ opening goal, in the ninth minute, was a prime example. Chris Wands worked hard to win the puck on the boards and released Dingle whose pass was snapped home by Philippe Paquet.
Justin Fox had already made it 2-0 on the power-play, before Carlo Finucci was allowed to go one-on-one on returning Caps net-minder Travis Fullerton, but the fit-again goalie could do nothing about the low back-hand finish.
Pavel Vorobyev pulled a goal back for the visitors, who finished the period strongly, although any momentum was killed after referee Craig, who let go numerous slashing and cross-checking calls, penalised Edinburgh with a delay of game penalty after he deemed they had taken too long to prepare for an attacking face-off in the Flyers zone.
Dingle profited form a poor passage of play from the usually rock-steady Mike D’Orazio in the 25th minute by tipping a slap-shot beyond Fullerton after an errant D’Orazio pass. More good work from the Flyers forwards, winning 50/50 pucks, led to the home side’s fifth goal through Brendan Brooks, before Vorobyev scored short-handed for Edinburgh to complete the scoring in the second period.
When Dingle scored with his penalty-shot four minutes after the restart, an already poor Edinburgh lost the plot defensively. Dingle with his hat-trick and Brooks, with his second, added power-play goals. Fox added Fife’s ninth, Jared Staal scoring late on for Edinburgh to complete the scoring.
Edinburgh, who will be lucky to see Schultz and MacDougall on the ice tonight at Murrayfield, look a shambles and Braehead, who themselves lost 5–1 at home to Belfast Giants last night, will expect a quick return to the winners’ circle, whilst only a vastly improved Caps performance will see them arrest a losing streak that now sits at four games.