Short-benched Murrayfield Racers were defeated 8-2 by Billingham Stars in County Durham tonight.
The semi-professional English outfit led 3-0 early on in the National Ice Hockey League Cup clash, before Racers forward Daniel Abercrombie grabbed a goal for the visitors late in the first period.
Stars went on to score four unanswered goals in the middle stanza but Martin Cingel grabbing Racers’ second late in the third period before Billingham scored an eighth goal with just seconds to play.
It was the first ever game against opposition from the National Ice Hockey League for Racers who were reborn this summer, and despite the heavy defeat, head-coach Tony Hand believes both he and his players learned a lot form
Hand said: “We lost concentration in spells and conceded some sloppy goals. We were up against a team who are obviously playing at a higher level than we’re used to.
“We had guys missing through injury and illness and that showed in our play at times, but we worked hard and battled right to the end which I have to give the boys credit for.”
The former Edinburgh Capitals and Manchester Phoenix coach, continued “We learned a lot tonight, and you can see that for us as a club we are in our initial stages. It was always going to be very difficult to give them a good game in their own rink. I’d like to think when we get them back at Murrayfield it will be a closer. We have another tough game in this competition this week (Blackburn Hawks at Murrayfield on Saturday) but this is an important learning curve for us to see where we are at this level.”