Ice Hockey: Dundee make most of weary Capitals’ mistakes

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Edinburgh Capitals’ assistant coach Jock Hay blamed “silly mistakes” for last night’s 5-3 home loss to Dundee Stars, a result which leaves Caps
rooted to the bottom of their Challenge Cup pool, and unlikely to make the competition’s quarter-final stage.

In an entertaining encounter, Edinburgh, who were minus two key players in banned net-minder Tomas Hiadlovsky, and forward Jade Portwood who injured his back during Friday’s practice session, fought back from two goals down to lead 3-2 before conceding twice in 90 seconds, a blow from which they could not recover.

Hay said: “We had most of the pressure in the first and second period but found ourselves two goals down as a result of a couple of silly mistakes and it cost us. Overall I think we played pretty well but we must cut out these errors at the back as they are costing us games.

“Their goalie made some good saves, or the bounce of the puck went against us, we did well to battle back and when we went 3-2 ahead I thought we were going to take it home from there, but we took our foot off the pedal and let them back into the game.”

Sunday was Dundee’s only game of the weekend, whilst the Edinburgh players endured a 700-mile road trip after playing in Cardiff on Saturday in a 4-1 Elite league defeat which Hay believed was a factor in Caps’ lacklustre finish. They only arrived back in Edinburgh at 6am yesterday.

“We did tire a bit in the last seven or eight minutes and couldn’t produce anything when we really needed it.”

Edinburgh, with Dundee running into early penalty trouble, had the better of the opening half hour but were let down by a bad final pass, or when they did get through, found Stars goalie Nic Riopel on top of his game.

Stars capitalised on two 
sloppy pieces of defensive play with Mike Wrill opening the scoring in the 15th minute before Stars’ man-of-the-match Sami Ryhanen doubled their advantage 29 minutes in.

Capitals’ Rene Jarolin scored a power-play goal after working a one-two with player-coach Richard Hartmann and bundling the puck home from close range at 33.28. And then utility player Neil Hay, filling in on the wing for Portwood, was first to react in a goalmouth scramble after Riopel stopped an initial effort from Marcis Zembergs.

Capitals then survived a Dundee five-on-three power play before Jarolin gave the home side their only lead of the game with his second goal at 42.34. That was as good as it got for the Murrayfield men, a Ryhanen equaliser from a fortuitous rebound off the plexi-glass behind Holland’s goal was followed 90 seconds later by a strike from Jonathon Hogan at 47.40.

Dundee completed the scoring in the final minute when, with Holland pulled for an extra skater, Wrill scored into the empty net.

Stars’ player-coach, ex-Capitals forward Jeff Hutchins, was relieved to come away with the win, and believes that future games involving any of the Elite League’s four Scottish rival teams’ will be too close to call.

He said: “To be honest I wasn’t overly pleased with how we played the first two and a half periods, it easily could have gone the other way.”