Edinburgh CAPITALS travel to Kirkcaldy to face-off against oldest rivals Fife Flyers tomorrow, in the first of two important weekend games for the ice hockey club.
Caps forward Curtis Leinweber is looking to “dish out some retribution” after Flyers’ dramatic last-second overtime win when the sides last met on Hogmanay.
The loss, to the club who hold a two-point advantage over Edinburgh in the race for the final play-off spot, is still fresh in the memory of Leinweber, who said: “It was a sore one. I think there was 0.4 of a second left on the clock or something like that. Hopefully we can return the favour, preferably without overtime, so we can inch our way that little bit more up the standings. It doesn’t matter how we do it, but it would be nice if we could collect the two points and dish out a little bit of retribution.”
The mid-season arrival from the University of Alaska Anchorage continued: “I’ve only ever played one game against them, but I can already see why it’s a good, healthy rivalry, and guys love to play in games like that.”
Of ninth-placed Edinburgh’s 14 remaining Elite League games, seven are against Fife or Dundee Stars, who occupy seventh spot, and as Edinburgh look to make up ground, Leinweber feels as if the play-offs have already begun.
He said: “If you look at the fixtures, half our matches are four-point games. We’ve got to play like it’s a play-off game every night, especially against the teams we’re close to.
“It can be very stressful, but at the same time it’s motivating because everyone loves to make the play-offs. Guys will elevate their game and give it that extra ten per cent that they never thought they had. If you look at it like that, this should have a positive effect for us.”
Edinburgh will be looking to rebound from Wednesday’s visit to Hull Stingrays, which resulted in a 4-3 overtime loss after they were leading with a little more than two minutes remaining,
Many Edinburgh fans were alarmed that throughout the game, bottom club Hull were able to pepper more than 50 shots on Caps’ goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky, a fact that did not overly concern Leinweber, who said: “They put a lot of emphasis on shooting when they had the chance and Tomas did a great job of making big saves when he had to.
“It’s not really a worry for us, we just need to make sure we limit the opposition’s quality chances, meaning shots that are in the slot or just outside. If teams want to shoot from the point or the half-wall, Tomas is the kind of goalie who’ll make those saves 99 times out of 100.”
Edinburgh complete their weekend with a home match against arguably the league’s form team in Braehead Clan (face-off 6pm), who have won five straight games since the arrival of vastly experienced new head-coach Paul Gardner. The 56-year-old Canadian has bossed and played at the highest level both in North America and Europe and he has by far the most impressive CV of any coach in the British Elite League, past or present.
Looking ahead to the Clan clash, and commenting on the Gardner appointment, Leinweber said: “Anytime you can get a guy of that calibre, and the experience he’s had, it will always be a benefit to any team.
“Clearly he knows exactly what he’s doing, and he’s got Braehead rolling in the right direction and you have to respect that.
“We’ve got to make sure we counter that with the way we play, and we know that if we play well and stick to our system we’ll create chances.”