Edinburgh CAPTIALS player-coach Richard Hartmann praised his players after last night’s 1-0 Elite League ice hockey defeat by Coventry Blaze at Murrayfield, with one exception – himself. The Slovakian was disgusted with his own performance, citing it as his worst display in a Capitals jersey, as his side failed to find the net for the second time this season.
Hartmann lamented: “I’m upset with myself; I didn’t play the way I’m supposed to. In fact, it was my worst performance in the two years I’ve been in this league. The boys played well, and battled hard. It’s difficult for me to talk about how any of the other guys performed after the way I played tonight.”
Edinburgh fell foul of match referee Andy Carson, who handed out four early penalties to the home side, leaving the Capitals’ faithful bemused. Hartmann refused to comment on Carson’s performance but agreed that playing shorthanded hindered his team’s chances.
He said: “It’s hard to play from the penalty box. One positive we can take from this into next week is that we killed a lot of penalties. I don’t think losing a close game 1-0 to a team like Coventry is a bad result. We had power-plays of our own, and chances to score. We just didn’t take them.”
In a game where defence took centre stage, cemented by two solid displays by Caps’ net-minder Tomas Hiadlovsky and his Blaze counterpart, Danish international Peter Hirsch, Coventry coach Paul Thomson felt his side missed the opportunities to close out the game, but was pleased after losing 3-0 at home to Sheffield Steelers on Saturday night.
He said: “I don’t think Edinburgh have seen the best of us, but after playing quite poorly on Saturday, to come here and play on the big ice pad, where you have to adapt your game a little bit, I’m pleased to rebound with a win. I think we had enough scoring chances to score another couple and make it a little easier on ourselves; Edinburgh gave us a good game. They have recently beaten Fife, Fife won against Sheffield, and we’ve lost to Sheffield, so any team can win on any given night.”
Coventry started brightly and, helped by Edinburgh’s penalty trouble, had the better of the first 20 minutes, outshooting their opponents 17 to ten, and deservedly scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the eighth minute. Strong skating by Greg Leeb allowed him to bring the puck round the back of the net and set up teenage forward Ross Venus, who belied his 18 years by snapping a wrist shot high past Hiadlovsky for his first goal of the season.
The second period was an even affair but had little in terms of goalmouth action, and was outshone by the performance of the boys and girls of the Murrayfield Rebels under-ten team, who treated the crowd to a five-minute match in the intermission, with a special guest appearance by 28-year-old Capitals’ back-up goalie Kevin Forshall to even up the numbers.
Rebels coach Andy Holmes said of the experience: “The kids had a ball; it’s great to give them a wee taste of the big game atmosphere. The crowd loved it and got right behind them.”
With Edinburgh’s top line of Rene Jarolin, Hartmann and Martin Cingel having an off night in front of goal, the second scoring unit of Marcis Zembergs, Peter Holecko and Neil Hay, who was filling in for injured Jade Portwood, created the best scoring chances for the home side. Zembergs was full of energy and Holecko, voted Capitals’ man-of-the-match, was denied by the glove of Hirsch with just two minutes remaining.
Edinburgh’s season continues on Saturday when Nottingham Panthers visit Murrayfield, before the return fixture at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham 24 hours later.