Despite Murrayfield Racers’ narrow 3-2 home loss to Blackburn Hawks on Saturday, head-coach Tony Hand declared himself “delighted” with the improvement he has seen within his squad as they fell just fell short in picking up their first points in the group stage of the National Ice Hockey League North Cup.
Racers led twice in the match through goals from Daniel Abercrombie and a third-period marker from Joel Gautschi. However, Blackburn, in a feisty penalty-filled encounter, scored the game winner with less than seven minutes remaining.
Hand, in just his fifth game in charge of the newly-formed club, who play predominantly in the amateur Scottish National League, said: “I was delighted with the performance, especially five-on-five. I thought we competed really well. The atmosphere created by our fans was great as well, there’s a lot to be pleased about.
“In the end Blackburn showed a little bit more experience than us, but I really felt we deserved something from the game. From a coaching standpoint it was a huge improvement from the way we played last week (in an 8-2 loss at Billingham Stars).
“There was a lot of penalties taken on both sides and I think that knocked both teams off their stride. There’s lots we can work on, especially our power-play, but we played well against a team who play at a higher level than us.”
Racers return to SNL action this weekend, when they entertain Dundee Tigers at Murrayfield on Sunday, face-off 6pm.