Murrayfield Racers slay Belfast Giants but the weekend belongs to netminder Craig Douglas

Hand praises his goalie in Cup semi-final victory

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 8:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th December 2019, 9:36 pm
Racers scored eight goals

Murrayfield Racers rounded off a busy 48 hours of ice-hockey action with a routine 8-3 win over Scottish National League new-boys Belfast Giants SNL at Murrayfield tonight.

However, according to Racers’ director of hockey Tony Hand, the star-turn of the weekend came from net-minder Craig Douglas who played in Saturday’s 5-0 success over Aberdeen Lynx in the second leg of their Stuart Robertson Cup semi-final, despite having spent the night in hospital.

The win resulted in resounding 14-1 aggregate success for the Murrayfield men and Hand explained: “On Friday Craig took an allergic reaction to antibiotics he was on for a chest infection and he spent the night and Saturday morning in hospital, getting chest x-rays and the like.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“He was the only goalie we had available, it was touch and go, but he was given medical clearance to play, he could easily have said he wasn’t well enough, but he wanted to play, he was fantastic and deserves so much credit.”

Douglas did not attend last night’s game, 16-year-old stopper Harry Elder given the start between the pipes for Racers who started slowly against Belfast and went into the first period break tied 2-2, the visitors scoring through Steven McMillan and Jamie Ferguson. Ross Borwick and Lewis Gold were on target for Murrayfield.

Hand continued: “I thought Belfast worked really hard tonight, but we were

sloppy, we acted like all we needed to do was show

up and go through the motions.

“There’s a level we need to play at which wasn’t there tonight. There are times when it’s okay to take your foot off the gas, but not at

the beginning of a game when you’ve got a 16-year-old in goals who might be a bit nervous.

“Give Belfast credit, they made it hard for us, but we eventually got going and got the job done.”

Racers went 3-2 ahead early in the second period, through a Rihards Grigors slap-shot. Giants had a great chance to draw level on the half-hour when they were awarded a penalty shot.

However, Stephen Eccles, blotted an otherwise excellent performance by firing his shot wide. Racers responded by increasing their lead

to 5-2 with two quick goals from Marty Simpson and Joel Gautschi, before, in the final minute of the second period, Giants’ Ross Hancock and Racers’ Callum Boyd traded goals giving Murrayfield a 6-3 advantage at the 40-minute mark.

Racers did not look back in the final period, and increased their lead, Gold and Boyd picking up their second goals of the game.