Capitals narrowly miss out to mighty Giants



Match Report: Andrew Reeves

As the Capitals are returning to full strength from illness and injury, there is an obvious difference to their attitude on the ice, but given the savings on not paying for a coach, surely the time has come for them to invest that money in more players? Even one more defence man and one forward would make a significant impact.

Sunday’s game was the second game of the weekend for both teams at Murrayfield ice rink. On Saturday the Edinburgh Capitals came out on top beating the Belfast Giants 5 – 4.

The tone of the game was set within the first four minutes when the Giants were caught offside and there was a bit of pushing and shoving afterwards and Giants’ Ross Dalgleish (22) received a two minute penalty for charging.

The Capitals went on the power play but only managed two shots on goal as the Giants’ defence leapt into action.

The game goes from end to end and the Giants were caught offside and just twenty one seconds later the Capitals were also offside.  This shows the sheer speed of this sport.

As the Giants continued to pile on the pressure, it was very obvious they were bruised after losing to the Capitals on Saturday night.

Capitals’ Captain Martin Cingel (29) missed a great opportunity as the puck was passed to him but he had already spun round to start tracking back, a missed opportunity for the Capitals.

Referees and officials always get a lot of stick, whatever the sport and tonight was no exception with Capitals’ players and bench staff shouting and arguing with the two linesmen and referee.

Capitals’ Kyle Horne (5) received a two minute penalty for delaying the game and moments later his team mate Evan Schafer (25) joined him, receiving a two minute penalty, for the same transgression.

Jacques Perrault (23) received a knock behind his own goal and limped off towards the bench where he spent the next few minutes walking it off.

Then the Giants started to turn up the heat and the aggression. Unfortunately for them it resulted in two penalties only a minute apart.  First to the penalty bench was Colin Shields (19) who received two minutes for hooking and then Josh Pruden (17) joined him receiving two minutes, also for hooking.

Just thirty seconds later as Capitals were on the power play, they were penalised for being offside and as Chris St. Jacques (14) remonstrated with the match officials, the fans of both teams are in agreement booing the poor decision.

The action continued to be end to end and despite the Capitals being six places below top of the league Giants, you would not guess so from the quality of this game.

Capitals’ netminder Scott Reid (33) continued to prove he is on good form making many excellent saves.

With just four minutes of the first period remaining, Michael Jacobsen (14) for the Giants receives a two minute penalty for interference.

Capitals pressure the Giants’ goal on their power play but the Giants’ defence is solid this evening.  The action moves down the ice where Scott Reid (33) is knocked over, losing his stick.

The first period finished Edinburgh Capitals nil – Belfast Giants nil, but there were twelve penalty minutes served.

The second period starts and the Giants came racing out with the first shot on goal within seconds of the start. They sustain the pressure on the Capitals for four solid minutes, resulting in a goal – which the referee disallows – much to the Giants’ players and fans’ annoyance, but to the relief of the Capitals.

Despite the continuous pressure from the Giants, the Capitals were not allowing themselves to be pegged in.  They were getting away and firing some shots off at the opposition goal.

Finally, the pressure from the Giants counted as just before thirty minutes were played, Simon Lambert (6) scored.

Moments later the Capitals were penalised for too many men on the ice and Neil Dolan (15) took the bench penalty.

The difference in the size of the squads became apparent as Giants were making many more line changes than the Capitals. Scott Neil needs to get some players into their squad.

Adam Taylor (7) missed the Capitals’ best chance of the game as he was on a one on one with the Giants’ netminder, but the shot was saved. 

The Giants then went back on the attack only for the shot to be deflected off the cross bar.  Giants continued the attack again, piling into the goal area where Scott Reid was once again pushed over and he also lost his stick for the second time in the game.  Being ever resourceful though, he grabbed Jacques Perrault’s and continued to successfully defend his goal line.

As the Capitals started to take the puck down the other end, Giants’ Craig Peacock (71) took an accidental stick in the face. Unfortunately, the referee only blew the whistle as the Capitals’ were about to shoot – right decision, but too slow in making the call.

Giants’ Mike Hoffman (33) started on Capitals’ Jacques Perrault after a great check by Perrault on Simon Lambert (6).

The second period finished Belfast Giants one – Edinburgh Capitals nil.  Just one penalty in that period.

The third and final period started with the same speed and attitude from both sets of players as the first two periods, with the Giants getting their first shot off after twenty six seconds followed by two near misses for the Capitals.

Then came the equaliser from the Capitals’ Jeff Hutchins (71) assisted by Chris St. Jacques (14).

Giants received a two minute penalty for too many men on the ice, which was served by Ross Dalgleish (22). Then with only forty seconds of that penalty gone,  Dalgleish was joined by team mate Josh Pruden (17) who received two minutes for delaying the game.

Then a second disallowed goal for the Giants.

Capitals were unable to capitalise on that power play despite being five on three.

Three more penalties and one again for the Giants as Ross Dalgleish (22) received two minutes for delaying the game.  Just ninety seconds later Capitals’ Adam Taylor (7) received a two minute penalty for slashing while Giants’ number 33, Mike Hoffman received two minutes for roughing.

More controversy came as the referee overruled the linesman on an icing call, closely followed by the game being stopped as the Capitals’ net comes loose from its moorings.

Capitals’ Adam Taylor (7) takes a shot to the head as a team mate tries to clear their line.  He was momentarily stunned but was back on his feet to applause from both sets of fans.  The fans like the fights but not injured players!

Then Adam Taylor (7) got his second two minute penalty for slashing, both within five minutes.  The Capitals survive the power play onslaught from the Giants.

With around one minute left to play, the Capitals call a time out.  What is on Scott Neil’s plan for tonight?

The third period finished all square at one apiece and, like the night before, the match went to extra time.

With only four seconds played, the Capitals were caught offside and a mere thirty seconds later received a two minute tripping penalty for Kyle Horne (5), as the Giants’ Simon Lambert did one of the most spectacular dives I have ever seen.

One minute later the Giants scored, ending the Capitals dream of three wins in a row.  Dan Welch (23) scored, assisted by Mike Bayrack (9) and Jeff Mason (3).

After overtime the game finished Edinburgh Capitals one – Belfast Giants two.

An amazing weekend of hockey and the Capitals  showing they can play when at full strength but the weekend was marred by bad sportsmanship at the very end of the Sunday game.

The Edinburgh Capitals play their home games at Murrayfield ice rink and you can follow them on twitter.

Next weekend the Edinburgh Capitals play host to the Nottingham Panthers. Face off is at 6pm on both Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th.  Doors open at 5pm.

Read more from this contributor at his Andrew Reeves Running Blog or following him on Twitter @andyreeves

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