Tony Hand praises his depleted Murrayfield Racers for sweating blood

Martin Cingel, left, was back from injury for Racers. Pic: Ian Coyle
Martin Cingel, left, was back from injury for Racers. Pic: Ian Coyle
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Director of hockey Tony Hand heaped praise on his short-benched Murrayfield Racers despite Saturday’s 9-4 defeat at Telford Tigers in the NIHL North Cup.

Injury and illness once more took its toll on the Edinburgh club, Racers travelling with just 12 skaters with Dundee Comets star John Dolan making a guest appearance. Dolan chipped in with a goal along with Martin Cingel who was returning from a three-week injury lay-off. Dolan also skated for two assists.

Telford led 4-2 after the first period with Racers goals coming from Aaron Robertson and Cingel. Racers did well to restrict Tigers to just a couple in the second stanza, and and hoped flared briefly as Dolan made it 5-3 in the 31st minute.

However, Telford’s depth and NIHL experience told in the final stages and they extended their advantage to 9-3 before Racers top-scorer Daniel Abercrombie, with 30 seconds to play, scored a fourth for the Scottish National League side.

Hand said: “The guys were fantastic and sweating blood against a very good and well coached Telford team. I couldn’t ask for any more from them.

“Dundee really helped us out in allowing John (Dolan) to play for us, he was down in Birmingham for a wedding and came in and did a great job.

“With the injuries we have, and the Under-20s having an important game of their own, it was always going to be really tough against one of the top NIHL teams.

“We had a better result down here than we did against them at Murrayfield last week. The guys are learning from playing games like this and realise how smart you need to be with the puck to play at this level. We had two guys ill and four out injured, there’s not a lot more you can do.”