EDINBURGH CAPITALS 5 – 4 BELFAST GIANTS
Match Report: Andrew Reeves
The mood in the Edinburgh Capitals’ dressing room was buzzing following last week’s victory but how would they perform tonight playing the Belfast Giants who are sitting at the top of the EIHL league?
The game is both a league and cup game.
With just twenty four seconds gone since face-off, the first whistle was blown as Belfast Giants were caught offside.
After ninety six seconds Iain Bowie (8) rattles off Edinburgh Capitals’ first shot, which is just pushed aside by Giants’ netminder Stephen Murphy (31).
The first two and a half minutes of the game were fast and were literally going from end to end.
Belfast Giants were caught offside again with just over three minutes played but it is the Capitals who maintain the momentum and pile on the pressure. The home side’s Jeff Hutchins (71) took the puck down the ice into the Giants’ goal area, with a nice back pass to Chris St. Jacques (14) who slammed it into the net. First goal of the game went to the Edinburgh Capitals at four minutes and sixteen seconds.
Belfast Giants were once again caught offside and used the face off to mount another attack on the Capitals’ goal but Scott Reid (33) was in good form and performed a great save.
At six minutes and eight seconds we had the first penalty of the game, with Capitals’ David Lomas (3) receiving a two minute penalty for hooking.
The Belfast Giants went on the power play and despite them missing what was in effect an open goal they couldn’t make it count this time.
The first period action continued from end to end with both teams piling the pressure on during each attack but both Scott Reid (33) and Stephen Murphy (31) were having good games and blocking a lot of shots thrown at them.
However, the Giants’ attack at thirteen minutes and two seconds broke the deadlock. Colin Shields (19) passed the puck to Jeff Mason (3) on the left and Mason skated behind and around the goal, made a neat little pass to Craig Peacock (71) who sat at the goal mouth and then just tapped it in. The game is equalised at one – one.
However, with a further two and a half minutes played the hero then turns villain as the Giants’ Craig Peacock (71) receives a two minute penalty for holding.
Unfortunately the Capitals couldn’t benefit from this power play and the game remained level. For the final two minutes of the first period it was all the Belfast Giants’ game, but with Scott Reid (33) on form they weren’t able to score and the period finished at one all.
The second period started as the first had ended, with end to end action, a great shot on the Giants’ goal at twenty two minutes, twenty seven seconds and then just eight seconds later the Giants rattled a shot off at the Capitals’ goal.
This pressure from both teams continued. At twenty seven minutes and fifty seconds the Giants’ number 27 served a bench penalty of two minutes for too many men on the ice.
The Capitals’ power play was fast and furious but the game was stopped for a while at twenty nine minutes and forty seven seconds as Capitals’ Kyle Horne (5) was flattened and appeared to hit his head against the posts. Thankfully, minutes later he was up on his feet to thunderous applause from both sets of fans at Murrayfield ice rink. No penalty was awarded.
Then the referee, Moray Hanson (former Murrayfield Racers player) skated over to the Capitals’ bench and started shouting. His anger was not aimed at the players, however, but at a fan in the crowd who, despite repeated warnings was using a flash while taking photos. This is not allowed at ice hockey matches as it distracts the players, and obviously the officials.
With thirty one minutes and five seconds on the clock, the game is stopped for high sticks. Following the face off the game moves back to the Giants’ goal but the Capitals cannot capitalise. There was a big round of applause as Kyle Horne (5) returned to the ice.
Capitals’ defence man Willie Nicolson (22) received a two minute penalty for delaying the game at thirty two minutes and thirty seven seconds. The Giants went on the power play and, with less than a minute of it played, took the lead with a nice attack leaving Scott Reid (33) sprawling in his net with no stick.
The Giants’ second goal was scored by Josh Pruden (17) assisted by Brad Smith (10) and Mike Bayrack (9).
The Capitals are not daunted and launch an attack straight from the face off. Then Capitals’ Jeff Hutchins (71) received a two minute penalty for hooking.
The game then continued from end to end and following a shot by the Giants, Capitals’ Jeff Hutchins (71) picked the puck up and skated effortlessly up the ice and over the blue line, passed the puck to Adam Taylor (7) who tapped it, catching the cross bar and in it went. Once again the game is level, two – two.
The second period finished two – two but the Capitals played it well.
The third period started and with forty three minutes and forty seconds on the clock, the Capitals went ahead with their third goal. Nick Fanto (18) passed the puck to Adam Taylor (7) who moved up the ice, with a nice return pass to Nick Fanto (18) who went up to the goal and made the shot and then Jacques Perrault (23) poked the puck into the back of the net.
The Giants’ Dan Welch (23) received a two minute penalty at forty five minutes, nineteen seconds and just seventy four seconds later his colleague Jon Gleed (5) joined him on the bench after delaying the game by holding the puck on the ice with his glove, although he did plead innocence to the referee.
So, the Capitals went on the power play with their five players versus the Giants’ three.
The Giants were back to four players as the Capitals’ shot had just hit the post.
Then the game turned. It was the Giants who went on the offensive and they piled the pressure on Capitals’ netminder, Scott Reid (33) who ended up lying flat on the ice in front of his goal. However, the Giants’ just could not break through at the moment.
Despite the tiredness the players must now be feeling, the game continued at this frenetic pace, from one end to the other.
Then Giants’ Dan Welch (23) skated down the right hand side and over the blue line, passed to his left into the middle of the ice to Jon Gleed (5) who drew his stick right back and wham, shot at goal and it went in. The Giants’ have equalised with Gleed’s fifth goal of the season.
Three – three.
The game is awesome, the Belfast Giants are currently at the top of the EIHL league but were being held here at Murrayfield by the Edinburgh Capitals.
Following the face off the Giants took the game straight to the Capitals’ goal and took the lead in a controversial goal as it was obvious the net was off its moorings. However, the referee states the puck was in the net first. Michael Jacobsen (6) scored with an assist by Mike Hoffman (33) with just two minutes and seven seconds of the game remaining.
With just over one minute to play remaining on the clock, the Capitals pull their netminder off and replace him with another forward to go six players on five.
The Capitals go straight on the attack despite that goal and keep the pressure on the Giants’ goal, and then with just twenty six point eight seconds remaining on the clock, Capitals’ Adam Taylor (7) passed the puck to Chris St. Jacques (14) who, unmarked, just slammed the shot at goal and it was past the Giants’ netminder in the back of the net.
Four – four and it was game on.
The third period finished four – four, so went into overtime where the teams went down to four players and whoever scored first would win the match.
The whistle went and they were off. The Giants were first to get a shot on goal but Scott Reid (33) made an important but great save. The puck went behind the net where Nick Fanto (18) poked it away from a Giants’ player to Jacques Perrault (23) who from behind his own net skated the length of the ice, beating one Giants’ player then while being shadowed by Giants’ Jeff Mason (3). Perrault then skated around him up to the netminder and shot the puck and it then appeared in the back of the net.
The Edinburgh Capitals had won, five – four, after an amazing show of ice skating and skill and their first back to back victories this season.
The Capitals’ slogan was so very applicable at this game – “Winners never quit ’cause quitters never win!”