Hartmann hat-trick puts Racers closer to a Cup Final

Richard Hartmann scores one of his goals. Picture: Ian Coyle
Richard Hartmann scores one of his goals. Picture: Ian Coyle
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Murrayfield Racers fought out an entertaining 5-5 draw with Dundee Comets in the group stages of the Stuart Robertson Cup at Murrayfield last night.

The point gained against last season’s treble winners sets up a likely showdown with Kirkcaldy Kestrels next month, for a place in the final of the competition.

Racers played the Kestrels on Saturday in Kirkcaldy on league business, drawing 2-2, and director of hockey Tony Hand said: “We knew that a point tonight against the Comets would give us a shot at topping the group and making the final. We’ve battled hard against two good teams this weekend, Dundee have a lot of talent in their squad and are well organised.

“There’s going to be three or four teams up there in all competitions at the end of the season and both Kirkcaldy and Comets fall into that category. I thought on Saturday we stole a point, but tonight I was pleased with the way we played, and the point we picked up is huge for us. If we beat Kirkcaldy at Murrayfield next month, as well as Dundee Tigers (who have yet to win a game this season), we’ll be in the final”

Racers who, along with Comets, remain the only two teams undefeated in all SNL competitions, got off to a great start and lead 3-1 after the first period through a Richard Hartmann double and a seventh goal of the season for teenage defenceman Ethan Reid.

Comets flew out of the blocks after the break scoring three quick goals through Lewis McIntosh, Adam McNicoll and player-coach John Dolan to lead 4-3 after 30 minutes. But Hartmann tied the game with his hat-trick goal, before Racers’ Joel Gautschi and Dolan traded late second period goals to tie the game at five each.

Both teams tightened up defensively in the third period, with both goalies facing just six shots each as what had been an entertaining game petered out a little.

Meanwhile, Racers have lost the services of free-scoring forward Daniel Abercrombie who quit the club on Friday.

Asked about the departure Hand said: “He had been travelling through from Ayr three times a week to play here and it was mentally draining for him. We’ll have guys back (from injury) next week and we’re looking to bring a couple of new faces in too. It’s disappointing to lose him but these things happen, we just have to keep moving forward.”