Murrayfield Racers got their Scottish National League campaign off to a winning start, beating North Ayrshire Wild 5-3 at Murrayfield ice rink tonight.
Veteran assistant-player coach Martin Cingel added a touch of class to proceedings with two well-taken goals in the first period, enough to win the 42-year-old former Elite League ace the man-of-the-match award.
Racers enjoyed three power-play opportunities in the opening period, and with the man advantage Cingel made the most of the extra space to skin a Wild defenceman before shooting a backhand finish beyond Wild goalie Scott Blackwell in the ninth minute.
The visitors hit the post straight from the restart but did draw level through Lewis Davidson who, with a sharp turn, made space for a shot from the right circle that went through the legs of Racers net-minder Mark McGill. Then, with under two minutes remaining of an even first period, Cingel faked a cross-ice pass from just inside the Wild blue line, before flashing a shot into the top corner.
Racers enjoyed their best spell of the game and had the lion’s share of possession in the middle stanza, Daniel Abercrombie scoring Racers’ third in the 24th minute, a strike that proved to be the only goal of the period, both sides wasting five-on-three power-plays opportunities.
Wild out-shot the Murrayfield men in the final 20 minutes, but Racers twice struck on the counter-attack to put the game out of reach, first Michael Ireland, in the 49th minute, did well to win a 50/50 puck to break-up a Wild power-play chance, and score short handed on the ensuing break-away. Then Callum Boyd in a similar situation set up Abercrombie for his second goal of the night with under five minutes to play.
Wild refused to lie down, and scored twice late on through Ryan Parkin and, with just seconds to play, Martin Cardno.