Bench-coach Jock Hay hailed a “dominant display” as Edinburgh Capitals racked up their seventh straight win on home ice with a 4-2 victory over Fife Flyers at Murrayfield last night.
Caps looked to be cruising at 3-0 before penalty trouble and two power-play goals conceded in the final eight minutes ensured a grandstand finish.
But a Ryan Hayes empty-net goal, chipped down the length of the ice, cemented the win and wrapped up a three-point weekend for Caps, following Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Dundee Stars.
A delighted Hay said: “For 50 minutes we were in total control of that game, before we started taking penalties at the end, but they suckered us into that. We’ve got to learn not to get involved because we let them back in and gave them a wee chance. Apart from that it was a dominant display and a great performance all round.
“Haysey being Haysey (Ryan Hayes), he’s got that eye for the net, it doesn’t matter where he is on the ice, he knows exactly where it is. So for him to pop it in like that in the final seconds was wonderful.”
Edinburgh started brightly, and excellent fore-checking from the Capitals forwards gave them a 2 -0 lead going into the first period break.
Hard work from both Taylor Dickin and Craig McCallum made it impossible for Fife to clear their zone, eventually McCallum won a 50-50 puck, forcing through a pass to Hayes and the Elite League’s leading goalscorer made no mistake from the slot for his 20th of the season 11 minutes in.
It look less than two minutes for Hayes to repay the favour, winning a puck he had no right too, and feeding McCallum who ripped a shot into the top right-hand corner beyond Flyers’ goalie David Brown.
Fife came out with more intensity in the second period, but crucially Edinburgh extended their lead with the only goal, David Rutherford scoring on the power-play, firing home a rebound after a shot from new signing Brandon Coccimiglio, who looked sharp throughout, was saved by Brown.
What had been a fast-paced game, became very stop-start in the third period as referee Rab Cowan’s whistle, which up to that point had been barely used, took over with 30 minutes of penalties dished out – 18 for Edinburgh, 12 for Fife.
Flyers, pushing to get back in the game and often with the extra man due to a crowded penalty box, ensured the majority of the play in the final 20 minutes was in front of the excellent Carsen Chubak, who made 28 saves in a man-of-the-match display.
However, hopes of the shut-out were dashed less than eight minutes from time, Flyers forward Michael Dorr converting a cleverly disguised slap-pass from the point by TJ Caig.
With Jacob Johnston in the box for tripping, Flyers pulled to within one in the final minute, Patrick Cullen converting an excellent fast-break after being set up by Justin Fox.
However, Hayes with his outrageous empty-netter, that resembled a PGA tour greenside flop-shot, ensured a two goal-night for the keen golfing American, and the perfect start to a stretch of five straight games at home for the Murrayfield men.
Hay concluded: “This weekend, with only five goals conceded in two games saw a big improvement in our defensive play. We did a good job of looking after our own end, and that’s what saw us through the weekend.
“If you win your home games your’re always going to be ahead of the game and anything you pick up on the road is a bonus.
“We’ve done well at home so far and the longer we keep this run going the better.”
Edinburgh are next in action on Friday night, the first of a home double header against Nottingham Panthers.