Edinburgh Capitals forward Matt Tipoff is relishing the “increased responsibility” given to him in recent weeks by player-coach Michal Dobron.
Capitals’ only game this weekend at Murrayfield is on Sunday against Manchester Storm (face-off 6pm) – and Tipoff will have a lead role.
First year pro Tipoff, who joined Edinburgh in the summer after averaging one point per game over five seasons with St Mary’s University in Canada, has seen an upturn in form rewarded with increased power-play time and a slot on the club’s first line with Russian forwards Pavel Vorobyev and Yevgeni Fyodorov.
Tipoff, who bagged an assist in Fyodorov’s game winner last Saturday at Braehead Clan, said: “It comes down to putting in the work off the ice. At the start of the season when things weren’t really going my way I ended up spending more time in the gym, speaking with ‘coach’ and letting him know I’m ready to take a bigger roll if it’s there.
“I really hope to just run with this, I’ve been given the opportunity to play with some pretty amazing players and I’ve been getting a few bounces lately. Hopefully we keep working on becoming more consistent and that translates into winning more games.
“I came here as a guy who was always counted on, and for the last five years at University I played on the first power-play. When I first got here I wasn’t in the same type of role that I was use to but now I’m getting more of an opportunity, and with that comes more success I guess.
“I’m hoping to build on that this month, have a really strong finish to the season and just continue to play better.”
Edinburgh, who have endured an injury crisis of late, couldn’t capitalise on the Braehead win, losing 4-3 at home against Fife Flyers 24 hours later, despite dominating the game for large periods.
Tipoff said: “It was a disappointing result against Fife, but overall it was a really positive weekend. We had almost our full line-up back and that was the main reason why we had success against Braehead. Fully (Travis Fullerton) played extremely well in net for us, but it really helped having three solid forward lines to rely on, and it gave us a little bit of extra energy when it came to the latter part of the game.
“We couldn’t quite get over the line against Fife, but were it not for a couple of key penalties against us it could have been a different story.”
One such incident was the match penalty for slew-footing handed out to Dobron by referee Neil Wilson. Following a review from the Elite League’s Department of Player Safety, the decision has been upheld and the defenceman, will miss Sunday’s game with Storm through suspension.
Tipoff continued: “Everybody who played last week, (Caps are still missing Taylor MacDougall with an upper body injury), is looking good and hopefully we can continue the chemistry we created from having three lines last week. It’s going to be tough without Dobs on the back end, it’s up to all of to step up and play his minutes.”
With no Saturday game for Edinburgh, combined with the fact Manchester play Braehead tonight and Fife tomorrow, Tipoff, who will have his parents and aunt and uncle in the stands at Murrayfield, is hopeful of taking advantage if Storm turn up jaded.
He said: “Three in three is a hard road trip and with us only having one game this weekend it’s something we need to take advantage of, especially in the later stages of the game when the legs get really tired.
“We had some success last week so we’ve not changed too much in practice although we’ve made a couple of minor tweaks that we think will help us for Sunday.
“Hopefully we can get some ice time tomorrow but I know that can be tough to organise on the weekends. If we do have a free day I’ll spend some time with my family who arrive today and show them the city and some Scottish culture, but it’s important that we all get plenty of rest to fully take advantage of Manchester being at he end of their three in three.”