A very understrength Edinburgh Capitals team played Nottingham Panthers on Sunday night in Murrayfield and were defeated 10-1.
Capitals outplayed and outscored (that scoreline was in binary wasn't it?)
The Capitals were able to field only 13 skaters. McLaughlin was in goal with Forshall as back up, Beskorowany sitting out with an injury. Valeyev moved backwards to support the defeated defence pairings - a move that was necessary in terms of not killing the remaining defence men but one where he didn’t always look very comfortable.
By comparison, the Panthers from the outset looked bigger, faster, stronger and there were more of them. Watching, from early on it felt like a game where either a miracle would happen or it would be a blow out.
The Panthers first goal was scored with just over two minutes played, when Brown pickpocketed a defenceman in the slot and then fired the puck through McLaughlin’s five-hole before he could react.
However, that stood as the lone goal for much of the first, through some desperate saves by Mclaughlin - the most notable a spilled shot from the blue-line that he was able to poke away before it trickled over the goal line, and a Capitals power play after Podzins was hooked on a breakaway but no penalty shot was awarded. The power play took a while to get going but had some good chances in the dying seconds.
It was the final eight minutes of the period, when the flood gates opened and the Panthers were able to take what looked to be a definitive 5-0 lead, through a succession of good play from the Panthers either forcing errors or taking advantage of Capitals errors. Goal scorers through the onslaught were Brown (again), Mokshantev, Lindhagen and Derlago.
When the Panthers came out for the start of the second, there seemed to be even more players than there had been in the first. Nevertheless, the Capitals were at least able to stop any more Panthers goals, even if they were unable to score themselves, despite having another power play when Lawrence was slashed. McLaughlin also made some nice saves, particularly with around eight minutes played, when the Panthers bullied the puck into the crease, forcing him to make a good split pad save.
At the halfway point of the game, Galbraith was replaced in net by Sam Gospel for the Panthers.
The Capitals tried to push to get more shots on the back-up keeper and did have a puck come off the crossbar. It was reviewed, but after a long delay, was ruled not to have been a goal, Toby keeping the tension high as we waited for his decision. Watching him do that, I suspect he’d love a NHL type microphone!
It looked like the Capitals might have got out of the second without conceding a goal - and then three goals in the last two minutes showed just how quick the Panthers could be to take advantage of any opportunities with a reeling Capitals trying to refocus and find any more energy as the seconds ticked down. Scorers were Pither, Mosey and Vaskivuo.
The third started with probably the flukiest goal we’ve seen at Murrayfield this season, with Tetlow bouncing one in from centre ice to put the Panthers up 9-0. They got their tenth when Lachowicz shot it past blocker side on McLaughlin with eight minutes played of of the third.
The Caps though were finally able to break the shut out when Podzins, one of the most effective players on the ice for the Capitals was rewarded for his efforts with a dirty goal in the crease with 12 minutes played. It was ironic that the assist was from Valeyev, who had not had a good night playing defence but had given the appearance of a man trying to do his best in a position he wasn’t that comfortable with.
The final minutes played out with Capitals pushing for a second as the Panthers relaxed their hustle, but they were unable to get it leaving the final result 10-1. In binary, that would only be 2-1 though.
Brown was Nottingham’s MoM for two goals, while McLaughlin was the Capitals’. He’d been the goalie on a team which had been badly outplayed all night.
But we did win one thing on Sunday - in a poll of Nottingham supporters on Sunday, Murrayfield was voted a colder rink than Kirkcaldy. I’m sure we can build off that when we play Fife in Kirkcaldy on Wednesday!