Edinburgh Capitals have more work to do on defence

Callum Boyd (No 89) tries to chip the puck over Braehead goaltender Travis Fullerton. Pic: Jan Orkisz/SMP
Callum Boyd (No 89) tries to chip the puck over Braehead goaltender Travis Fullerton. Pic: Jan Orkisz/SMP
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Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Riley Emmerson has called on young defenceman Jay King to learn from his mistakes after title-chasing Braehead Clan won 4-1 at Murrayfield last night.

A Matt Keith goal just ten seconds into the third period after King’s pass from his own zone was intercepted by Alex Leavitt, gave Clan a 3-1 lead from which they never looked back.

Up to that point Edinburgh had more than held their own in an entertaining first 40 minutes which included a game penalty for Caps blue-liner Kyle Flemington.

Emmerson said: “The boys played with a lot of pride, but we had a couple of mental breakdowns that cost us. With Flemington getting kicked out of the game in the second period we went down to four ‘D’ including our two young British players. (Tyler) Plews played really well, Jay was having a really good game too, but one bad turnover and the puck is in the back of our net.

“Jay’s got to know, and learn, that you can’t make those sort of mistakes at this level because if you do you’ll be punished on the scoreboard. Apart from that he had a pretty good game. We came in pumped for the third period, but to lose a goal after ten seconds like that really deflates you.”

After some early pressure from the visitors, forcing Capitals goalie Carsen Chubak into some fine saves, Edinburgh took the lead against the run of play in the tenth minute, Paul Zanette on the power-play tipping a Ned Lukacevic slap-shot to divert it past Clan goalie Travis Fullerton.

Clan equalised eight minutes later when a high stick to the throat of Capitals forward Trevor Gerling was missed by match referee Toby Craig, allowing Clan to break and Leavitt scoring on the rebound after Chubak had saved Chris Bruton’s initial effort.

Braehead scored the only goal of the second period, Leavitt with his second of the night, on the power-play, when a poor hooking penalty taken by Taylor Dickin deep in the Clan zone, after new signing Brandon Thompson was already in the penalty box for delay-of-game, gave Braehead a two man advantage for nearly two minutes.

Caps lost Flemington soon after when he was ejected for third-man-in after a collision between Edinburgh forward Callum Boyd, who was looking to get on the end of a Brandon Coccimiglio centring pass, and Fullerton caused a stramash in front of the Clan goalie who lay prone on the ice.

Emmerson felt the call made in the 32nd minute was harsh on the Caps player who leapt to the defence of Boyd after he was punched by two Clan players in the seconds following the collision.

He said: “I don’t think he should have got kicked out, he was just trying to protect Boyd. He kept his gloves on and was just trying to wrap up the skirmish that had broken out. I wouldn’t have called it like that, but you have to respect the referee, it’s his decision to make.”

Obviously stung by the harsh decision against the big Canadian, Edinburgh finished the second period strongly, enjoying their best spell of the game and Fullerton, who was fit to continue, made some top saves to keep the Caps at bay.

Edinburgh, who were soundly beaten 7-1 on Saturday night at Fife Flyers, ran out of steam in the third period and Clan wrapped up the points five minutes from time, Bruton scoring on the power-play after some slick passing cut through a tired looking Capitals defence.

Capitals are patently missing injured Canadian import Jacob Johnston who has been out since the turn of the year. He will be out for at least another two weeks with a lower body injury.

Emmerson continued: “We’re missing some depth right now, but we’re in the market for a defenceman. We’re speaking to everyone we can in an effort to bolster our back end.”