Riley Emmerson stunned by Capitals’ capitulation

It looks like the puck is in the net, unfortunately it missed by five centimetres. 'Caps left to right - Riley Emmerson, David Rutherford, Nate Fleming and Jacob Johnston. Picture: Jan Orkisz/SMP
It looks like the puck is in the net, unfortunately it missed by five centimetres. 'Caps left to right - Riley Emmerson, David Rutherford, Nate Fleming and Jacob Johnston. Picture: Jan Orkisz/SMP
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Edinburgh capitals’ head coach Riley Emmerson named netminder Carsen Chubak as the team’s only positive from their 8-1 loss at Elite League new boys Manchester Storm – and says without him it could have been more.

The Caps’ return to competitive action was meant to begin on a positive note after the changes made in coaching and playing staff, but this result was a sobering one as Edinburgh finished the first EIHL weekend without a point.

Emmerson was left stunned by the events of Altrincham, which came after Saturday’s 5-3 defeat by Belfast Giants and put his finger on what went wrong for his team as they were left to reflect on a disappointing weekend. “Turnovers were our arch nemesis in this game,” said the coach. “Guys want to do things themselves, which led to losing the puck and hung Carsen Chubak in goals out to dry. I’m a player too so I’m equally responsible.

“We gave them six goals and at this rate, we’ll be known as a Christmas team because of the gifts we give away. The only positive we can take from this is Carsen in goal for us. Without him, it could have been 15-1.

“Every single goal we let in was us leaving him out to dry and having a goalie that battles so hard, we need to understand that unless we have five men units out there we’re going to suffer.

“It’s not the start a rookie coach wants so early, but guys have to buy into or it’s going to get ugly. If it continues, then Scott (Neil) might start fire the bullets and begin replacing guys. It’s only two games into the season, but this is a sore one to take.”

As the Storm rightfully took the applause on their new stage in the immediate aftermath, Edinburgh skulked off stage left having forgotten to read the script. The Storm announced themselves to the Elite League with the loudest possible message.While not many will know too much about the league’s new boys at this early stage of the campaign, Capitals were certainly fully briefed by the end of the game, which began with Mike Sisca first to breach the Caps goalie on 11 minutes.

Trevor Gerling found his way to goal in a rare Capitals attack, but parity didn’t last long as Manchester stormed in front again just over a minute later on the powerplay. Emmerson took a hooking call and the home team took the hint, with Luke Salazar taking the opportunity then Vinny Scarsella applying a third seconds later.

Igor Bobcek made it 4-1 towards the end of the period with the misery continuing as Salazar added a fifth halfway through the third period, followed by Sisca’s second then Grant Toulmin making it 7-1 for the Storm. Then Salazar clinched his hat-trick.

If the fans were worried as things unravelled for their team, one man who wasn’t was netminder Chubak, despite conceding eight and facing 54 shots on a busy night.

“It’s a little embarrassing, but we’ll jump back on and get to work this week,” said the Canadian. “I think we have a couple of things we have to work on. We’ll get some practice and we’ll be okay. There’s still optimism there and we had kept the game close until the third period. If we play our game, we should be okay. While we’re making loads of mistakes, they are correctable. We’ll work on those ahead of next weekend, but it’s only one game.”

The loss in Manchester compounded a miserable weekend, as the Caps went down 5-3 to Belfast Giants in their Challenge Cup opener at Murrayfield. Jonathan Boxill, two from Mike Forney and another from Colin Shields had them 4-0 early in the third period until Ryan Hayes pulled two back either side of Jeff Mason’s fifth for Belfast, with Taylor Dickin reducing the lead, but the visitors held their nerve to take the win.