Edinburgh Capitals face-off against two of their biggest rivals this weekend and rookie forward Callum Boyd wants fan-power to help lift the Murrayfield outfit off the bottom of ice hockey’s Elite League.
Caps travel to Dundee Stars tomorrow, before hosting Fife Flyers on Sunday, and Boyd believes support from the stands played a big part in Edinburgh picking up their first win in 14 games, after a 5-3 home success last time out against title contenders Nottingham Panthers.
Fans, understandably, frustrated by the club’s horror run, galvanised pre-game on social media and club forums, vowing to support the players come-what-may, and Boyd is looking for more of the same as Edinburgh look to pick up their first win of the season over a Scottish club.
“On Sunday, when we skated out on to the ice, everybody just went crazy,” said Boyd. “It was the loudest I’ve ever heard them.
“It gave off such a good vibe for us to go out and play. We started with momentum, which is something we hadn’t done in a while, and played our best game of the season.
“It showed us we have the talent to beat the big teams in this league, and to pull it off made for a brilliant night.
“The boys in the locker room had been getting so frustrated at how things had been going, but it’s like a different place after that win.”
After the Stars edged Capitals home and away in the Challenge Cup, tomorrow is the first of eight league meetings between the Gardiner Conference sides, and a win in regulation would see Edinburgh move above the Tayside men in the table. Boyd said: “Right from the start of the season we’ve been looking ahead to these sorts of games, against our local rivals, as ones we need to take something from.
“All week we’ve been working hard on the things we need to do well to get a result.
“Both games will be difficult, but we’ve got a bit of confidence behind us and we’re going to fight for the win, like we always do.”
“Fife have beaten us twice in Kirkcaldy recently, but having them at Murrayfield I’m sure we can make it a much tighter affair – we took them to penalty shots last time we had them here – we really need the points, so we’ll be going all-out for the win.”
Boyd, signed in the summer from Scottish National League side Kilmarnock Storm, scored his first goal for the club at the weekend and the 20-year-old is quickly becoming a fan-favourite for his strong skating and, despite not being the biggest player on the ice, physical style.
“I’ve always liked the physicality of the game,” agreed Boyd. “There’s no better feeling than putting someone on their backside. The guys in the Elite League are so much bigger than I’m used to – it’s a real challenge.
“I’ve never been afraid of taking or giving a hit. If you worry about it, you’re just going to panic when you see someone skating towards you.
“Playing at this level, you need to be a lot smarter both on and off the puck. In the SNL, I could almost just float about and be here or there, but in this league you have to be in the right position at the right time. You can’t afford to slip up.
“(Capitals’ player-coach) Richard Hartmann is really helping me with that side of my game. I’m learning so much, and feel I’m more aware of where I need to be on the ice during a game. I use my eyes a lot more, and take in what is going on around me. Before I played with the Caps I just didn’t think like that at all.”