In what has been a horrendous week for Edinburgh Capitals, that has seen three players walk out on the club, fresh injury woes and two heavy midweek defeats at Coventry Blaze and Milton Keynes Lightning, one shining light amidst the gloom is the commitment displayed by young forward Dillon Lawrence.
Now without a win in seven games, Edinburgh complete a tough three-game road trip tonight at Elite League leaders Manchester Storm before returning to face Belfast Giants at Murrayfield tomorrow (face-off 6pm).
That has not perturbed Lawrence, who cancelled a surgery appointment for facial reconstruction after taking a nasty puck to the face in last week’s home loss to Milton Keynes in order to travel with the team and play in their four games this week. He is convinced nobody should be “counting out” Caps just yet.
Edinburgh lost the services of three want-away players in Julius Nyqvist and Duncan Speirs, who have since joined Danish team Gentofte Stars and Solway Sharks respectively, plus Taylor Stefishen, who is expected to complete a move to a team in North America’s East Coast Hockey League. Lawrence said: “The big thing here is trying not to let everything that’s being going on effect how we’re playing. We’re short of guys and we lost some important members of the team, but we need to focus on what we have. There’s no excuses, we’ve got to be better, we need to concentrate on doing the little things right and finish off this difficult four game stretch.”
“We’re trying to stay positive and we’ve been told (by team co-owner Scott Neil) that they’re already on the look out for new guys to bring in. It’s a tough time with the guys leaving, but there is also excitement to see who we can bring in.”
“We were all over the place against Coventry. I though we played better against Milton Keynes and tightened things up a little bit. We just ran out of energy.”
On cancelling his appointment at St John’s Hospital to repair his broken nose, the 22-year-old added: “At a time like this you want to be there for the team. It’s something that’s not going to effect my play. I’m wearing a full cage, so it’s covering it up.
“It’s impeding my breathing a little bit, but nothing that will stop me from playing. I’ve rescheduled my appointment, I’m going to have it taken care of, I’m not neglecting my health or anything like that.”
“Last week some of the fans reached out to me after it happened to see if I was okay, and I really appreciated that.
“I love the fans here, and we’re going to try and be better for them, and we will be. It’s a tough patch right now. We’ll get it through it, we just need to stay strong and try to come out of this with some positives. There’s still plenty of time (this season), nobody should be counting us out.”
Caps will likely be without the injured trio of Dylan Anderson, Michael D’Orazio, and Sergei Banashkov for tonight’s game, but will be boosted by the return of Mike Cazzola, who missed the mid-week matches through university commitments.
Given Edinburgh’s recent energy-sapping run of fixtures, a return to form this weekend is unlikely. However, if club management live up to their promise and bring in players of the required calibre to really make a difference, and more of this year’s team take a leaf out of Lawrence’s book, who joined the squad this summer purely as injury cover, the feel-good factor at Murrayfield will soon be back.
“It’s a great opportunity for me here,” added Lawrence: “I’m trying to rise to the occasion and show what type of player I can be. I’m just looking forward to getting healthy, so I can keep battling and put in some good performances, but the most important thing is that we start having some success as a team.”