EDINBURGH CAPITALS joint-owner Matthew Tailford admitted his team blew a fantastic opportunity to win over legions of new ice hockey fans when they lost 3-1 to Hull Stingrays at Murrayfield last night.
The Caps’ flat performance in front of 2361 spectators ensured the club’s “Rock the Rink” promotion ended on a bum note and Tailford said: “After a fabulous performance in our last home game, (an 8-4 victory against Braehead Clan) this definitely wasn’t what we wanted.
“This was a prime opportunity to show what we can do and showcase the Capitals and the sport in general. Bottom line is we did not play well, could not get out of first gear and didn’t give the crowd a chance to get behind us. We need to get back to the drawing board and we hope to be adding a player or two within the week.”
Although disappointed with the result, Tailford was delighted with the bumper turnout, over double the regular gate at the Riverside rink, and said: “It was a great effort from everybody involved with the club, we had a lot of volunteers helping out in many different ways and I’m very grateful, we’re confident we could handle this sort of crowd every week and that would be fantastic for the club.”
Edinburgh captain Martin Cingel, who picked up the man-of-the-match award for the Capitals, blamed “individual errors” as the home side gifted Hull two shorthanded goals before an empty-net strike with 80 seconds remaining from Stingrays talisman Jereme Tendler wrapped up the points for the visitors.
Cingel said: “Obviously this is a huge disappointment. We created plenty of chances but never capitalised on them.
“They scored two shorthanded goals and that just shouldn’t happen. It was two individual mistakes and that cost us the game. Our coach will be speaking to those responsible to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The result, coupled with Capitals’ 4-1 loss to Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy on Saturday, leaves the club rooted to the bottom of the Elite League with nine points from 17 games.
Cingel, while disappointed with the team’s weekend performances, was keen to point out the need for reinforcements after playing short benched since the season started in September, on top of injuries to Michal Benadik and Jade Portwood, who will be sidelined for at least another month after aggravating a groin injury in training last week.
He said: “The big problem we are facing right now is that we’re playing short. We are rolling with seven guys who have to play all our power-plays, all our penalty kills, and that is making the difference when it comes to scoring goals or finishing break-aways. Sometimes the energy is just not there.
“We’ve scored two goals in 120 minutes of hockey and that is not enough. You just can’t win games like that. On that form our goalie needs to stand on his head just to see us get to overtime.”
In an even opening period, ex-Capitals forward Jason Silverthorn forced an early great save from Edinburgh net-minder Tomas Hiadlovsky, whilst Stingrays’ man-of-the-match, goalie Ben Bowns thwarted home forward Jordan Steel.
Stingrays took the lead with a shorthanded goal in the 19th minute, Silverthorn reacting quickly to slot the puck past a stranded Hiadlovsky from close range after a fierce Tendler shot rebounded off the backboards.
Capitals out-shot the visitors 14-7 in the second period and deservedly levelled the match when Cingel was on hand to score after Bowns failed to hold a Jaraj Senko slap-shot at 30.35.
Edinburgh, however, failed to take anything from the five power-play opportunities handed to them by referee Dean Smith, and the man advantage proved to be their undoing as sloppy play whilst in possession of the puck allowed Silverthorn to break away and set up Stingrays captain Kurtis Dulle to score in the 35th minute.
With time running out, and the game stopped for a face off in the Hull zone, Edinburgh pulled Hiadlovsky for an extra attacker, but immediately lost the puck to Tendler, who scored into the empty net at 58.40.