Man-of-the-match Garrett Milan hailed last night’s 4-1 win over Coventry Blaze at Murrayfield as “a huge confidence boost” as Edinburgh split their weekend, after going down 4-2 at Manchester Storm on Saturday.
Milan, who scored the Capital side’s crucial second goal midway through the second period, as well as a last-second empty-net effort said: “This is huge, and builds confidence for our team.
“We’ve won a few by battling back in the third period, but last night we played with a lead and protected it, which is a stepping stone for us.”
Saturday was a different story as Edinburgh found themselves 2-0 down in Altrincham after just 70 seconds, and Milan knew the importance of bouncing back with a win in their first cross conference league game of the season: “We played great, especially after such an upsetting start in Manchester on Saturday,” he said. “Anytime you get in a 2-0 hole so early its tough to come back from. It’s difficult to do in this league, you saw that against Coventry, we were up 2-0 and it makes a big difference. We don’t always have the deepest bench and you don’t always want to be chasing goals late on. I wouldn’t say we sat back on our lead, we were still pressing but it certainly made things easier.
“They have a good squad over there and this result just shows we can beat anybody on any given night.”
Edinburgh could have taken the lead after only 20 seconds, Pavel Vorobyev had the net at his mercy but couldn’t control a bouncing puck. Blaze 6ft 5in net-minder Brian Stewart wasn’t enjoying the opening stages and had to leave the ice after his face-mask was damaged from a Karel Hromas slap-shot. The gritty Czech forward, returning to the side after injury, looked the perfect foil for Russian line-mates Vorobyev and Yevgeni Fyodorov.
Quality chances were slim for both sides early on, but a short burst of sustained Capitals pressure in the 13th minute saw the Blaze blue-line resemble a shooting gallery as the home players appeared to line up to fire blasts either wide, or forcing Stewart into a good stop, before eventually a slap-shot from Edinburgh player-coach Michal Dobron was good enough to open the scoring.
The second period was a tame affair, defences again on top, before in the 33rd minute, great strength on the puck from Matt Tipoff and Vorobyev created the angle for a pass to be slid across the Blaze crease to Milan who roofed his finish beyond a sprawled Stewart. The goal brought the crowd into the game and gave the home side a visable boost, but any momentum was killed less than two minutes later after a crunching, but fair, hit from Dobron on Blaze forward Bjorn Bombis damaged the plexi-glass behind the Capitals net. Referee Toby Craig had no option but to halt proceedings so that running repairs could be made, with the five minutes and 18 seconds still to play tagged on to the third period.
Capitals goalie Travis Fullerton was unlucky to have his shut-out broken with 19 minutes to play, a Robin Bergman shot looked to be going wide before taking a deflection off the stick of Edinburgh’s Jacob Johnston, and looping into the top right-hand corner.
Less than five minutes later, Edinburgh’s two-goal cushion was restored, a lovely passing move involving Hromas, Vorobyev and Fyodorov sliced through the Blaze defence, Fyodorov applying the finish.
Coventry enjoyed their best spell of the match as they pushed hard to get back in the game, only to find no way past Fullerton, despite 15 third period attempts on goal. Milan added the hosts fouth in the final second after picking up a Dobron pass.