Edinburgh Capitals forward Ian Schultz has called on his team-mates to “dig deep” ahead of tonight’s Forth derby at Fife Flyers.
Caps have found Kirkcaldy a notoriously difficult place to go, their Challenge Cup win at the Fife Ice Arena earlier this season being their first away success over their fiercest rivals in three years. However, repeating that feat tonight would go a long way to moving Edinburgh off the foot of the Elite League table.
Capitals returned from their double-header at Belfast Giants in the early hours of Christmas Eve without anything to show for their efforts after two defeats.
Looking ahead to Fife tonight as well as tomorrow’s home game with Braehead Clan (face-off 6.30pm), Schultz said: “We’ve got to dig deep in these games coming up. Even in Belfast, despite the defeats there are positives to take. I was impressed with how we stuck together as a team and outscoring Belfast 5-1 on Friday in the third period shows just what we’re capable of. If we can harness what’s good about this team and improve on the bad the sky is the limit.”
Edinburgh will be without injured defenceman Jaroslav Hertl and speedy forward Garrett Milan, with Tyler Plews and Taylor MacDougall also likely absentees through injury. Fife will have influential defenceman Philipe Paquet returning from suspension and, despite missing Shane Stockton through injury, will fancy their chances of snapping their five-game losing streak that includes a 6-3 defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield earlier this month. One piece of good news for the stretched Capitals squad is the return of goalie Travis Fullerton, with emergency loan signing Jordan Marr returning to English Premier League side Hull Pirates. Capitals captain Jacob Johnston was impressed with the Lochgelly netminder’s efforts over his two-game loan spell, blaming poor defence for Friday’s 9-6 defeat.
Johnston said: “On Thursday, we played well (in a 3-0 loss) and gave them a pretty good game. On Friday, though, we’re disappointed with our effort and the outcome of the game.
“Jordan came in and played great both nights. That score on Friday – as bad as it was – was our fault. We didn’t play well in front of him and we need to do that every game to be successful. We need to be more consistent. We can’t afford to keep taking a few shifts off.
“All our games are winnable when we play the way we should and the way we can. Sometimes you need to have a short memory and we need to forget about Friday right away and move on. We have three very important games coming up and we need to get as many points as possible out of them.”
Marr, 25, who last week was on the train returning from Hull to Scotland to spend time with family when he received the call from Capitals co-owner Scott Neil requesting his services in Belfast, has no regrets about interrupting his Christmas break, admitting he would love the chance to play Elite League ice hockey in the future.
Marr said: “I had a really good experience. I came in and the guys treated me like one of the team. It was great to see what the Elite League was like. I’ll take that away with me and become a better goalie for it.
“Most British kids aspire to play at the highest level over here and then to even better things overseas. Eventually, I’d like the opportunity to play in the Elite League. Hockey is my passion, it’s my job, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices and cut into your family time.
“I’m fortunate Edinburgh game me this opportunity and a chance to prove myself.”