Ice Hockey: Keeper Forshall the hero as he rescues a point for Capitals

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Third-choice goalie Kevin Forshall played a big part as Edinburgh Capitals gained a valuable point in the Elite ice hockey League after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Dundee Stars on Tayside last night, and the 28-year-old, making his first start for the Capitals’ professional side said he “loved every minute”.

With star Slovakian net-minder Tomas Hiadlovsky suspended and backup goalie Craig Holland injured, Forshall made 33 saves, including five in sudden death overtime, to take the game into penalty shots. Stars’ Canadian forward and man-of-the-match Mike Wirll, who also found the net twice in normal time, scored the shootout winner, giving the extra point to the home team.

Forshall, who is now in his 11th season with the Capitals, and a stalwart of their Scottish National League team, said: “It was great to get a start, I’ve played in matches before, but never a full game. It went by so quickly, and I loved every minute. I just tried to forget about everything around me and focus on the puck.”

Edinburgh took the game to the home side, outshooting their opponents 49-35 and player-coach Richard Hartmann, who missed the second half of the match after receiving a slash to the hand which saw Stars’ defenceman Pat Bowen ejected, was delighted with the performance. “We played hard for 60 minutes, and really battled for Forshy. If we keep playing like that we’ll have success for sure. Considering the situation we’re in, to get the point was unbelievable. The guys can hold their heads high after that performance. We’ve had a lot of headaches with our goalies recently, but Forshall covered my back; I’m really happy for him.”

Edinburgh took the lead when Jade Portwood scored his first goal of the season, unassisted at 6.22. Ninety seconds later parity was restored when Wirll equalised for the home side. Capitals went ahead for the second time in the tenth minute after great work behind the net from Czech defender Michal Dobron allowed Caps’ leading marksman, Rene Jarolin, nothing more than a tap in for his eighth goal of the season. Wirll and Dundee’s second came after he flashed a wrist shot high past Forshall at 19.29. The 30-year-old, who last season had a short spell with Braehead Clan, is fast becoming a thorn in the Capitals’ side, scoring five times in the last two games between the teams.

Edinburgh had the better of the second and third periods but could not get the puck past the impressive Stars’ net-minder Nic Riopel, and were left to rue missed power-play opportunities including a five minute major penalty for Bowen after the slash on Hartmann.

Stars suddenly gained the ascendancy in the five minute overtime period, outshooting the visitors 5-0 and they managed to carry that momentum over into the penalty shootout with Sami Rhyanen cancelling out a successful effort from Dobron which, after Riopel saved a Peter Holecko effort, paved the way for Wirll’s game-
winning shot.

On Saturday night Edinburgh posted a disappointing home display, going down 4-1 against the Braehead Clan at Murrayfield. English net-minder James Flavell, playing on loan for Caps from Billingham Stars, won man-of-the-match honours.