Edinburgh Capitals played the first of their at home double-header games against Guildford Flames on Saturday night, but lost in a hard fought game.
Guildford Flames dominated the first period of play, as a combination of an out-of-sync Edinburgh side and the speedy and disruptive play of the Flames meant much of the period was played with Edinburgh defending in their own end. Flames were a strong force in the neutral zone, preventing Edinburgh getting easy transitions out of defence into attack.
Guildford was able to score first with a power play goal after Mosio was called for hooking. A crowd of players around the net, with a puck bouncing around meant that Beskorowany was unable to prevent Dunbar getting it over the line to take the lead.
They doubled their lead seven minutes later, when Craige was able to beat Beskorowany and give the Flames a 2-0 lead, which they held until the first intermission.
Edinburgh came out for the second more determined; Cazzola forced a breakaway early in the second but Stewart was able to make the save. However, the ice remained tilted in the Capitals’ favour for much of the period as they were able to force turnovers on the Flames attack, counterpunching regularly to get good several good scoring chances.
It was on one of those that the Capitals were able to take advantage of, as a good outlet pass from Grighors found Vorobyev almost at the blue line and a step ahead of the defenders. He went onto score in a beautiful shot from the slot, beating Stewart with around five minutes gone in the second.
The game was also more tetchy in the second period, as the Capitals drove the net hard, and Stewart and the Flames objected to this, resulting in several incidents with multiple players being sent to the box.
The first such scrum resulted in Edinburgh being awarded a 5 on 3 for the full two minutes as Podzins went to the box on a minor for roughing, but Yadlowski was awarded a double minor and Rachinski a minor for slashing. Unfortunately, Valeyev was then called for slashing, bringing it back to a 5 on 4 power play for the Capitals. D’Orazio got a shot into the crease which Stewart was not able to corral and as the Capitals hunted the puck, it was Anderson who got his stick on it, sending it past the sprawling Stewart. Flames appealed for goaltender interference, which given the stramash in the crease area, could have been a reasonable call, but the goal was confirmed.
The third period had some of the best hockey of the game, with both sides pushing hard for the go-ahead goal. Early on, Vorobyev was short by a fraction on a wraparound attempt with Stewart stranded on the opposite post.
Play continued as end-to-end with both sides generating chances until one of the referees took exception to something said on the Capitals bench and sent D’Orazio to the penalty box for a two minute misconduct penalty. Although the Flames didn’t score, this did have the unfortunate effect of breaking the rhythm of what had been some exciting hockey, and the Flames were able to start putting more pressure on the Capitals.
The goal, when it came with around give minutes to play, had therefore been starting to feel inevitable when Reddick put it past Beskorowany. The Capitals efforts to tie the game up were not helped when Banashokov took a high-sticks penalty with four minutes to play. Despite their efforts, the Capitals could not find another goal and Flames put it out of reach at 4-2 with Ferguson’s empty net goal with 45 seconds to play.
Capitals man of the match was Vorobyev - one goal and a strong game throughout. Guildford’s Ackered took the honours for his team with one assist.
Despite the result, the return of several injured/ill players to the team allowed the Capitals to continue to improve from their low points of the season and they go into Sunday’s game against Dundee with the knowledge that this is a winnable game on current form.