Match Report: Edinburgh Capitals 4-5 Fife Flyers

It took a penalty shootout to separate Edinburgh Capitals and last night’s winners, the Fife Flyers at Murrayfield Ice Rink.

Fife won the opening face-off and netminder Carson Chubak faced an onslaught of rubber. Shayne Stockton opened the scoring within seven minutes with Jeff Lee doubling the lead on 11.

Moments later, the Caps pulled one back through Taylor Dickin. Then Trevor Gerling equalised with less than one minute of the first third left. Seconds later, Ned Lukacevic gave Edinburgh a 3-2 lead at the end of the opening 20.

180 seconds into the second period and Stockton levelled it up once again. It was another 23 minutes before RJay Berra netted a seventh goal of the contest and Capitals led again. However, the man of the match, Shayne Stockton equalised with less than 120 seconds to go.

In overtime, Flyers dominated proceedings. They had four chances to win it. Delahey, Dingle, Pacquet and Sachetti all had chances, but could not convert. Penalty shots beckoned. The visitors converted their three attempts while Caps made their first two.

It came down to Lukacevic v Brown in sudden death. The former Flyer went right, tried for the near post but Brown had already shut it down. The puck struck Brown’s body and he went to celebrate with the large travelling support.

Fife Flyers Coach, Todd Dutiaume, said: “This game meant a lot to them. Their season was on the line and they were pushing and pushing in the second and third periods.”

Those two goals at the end of the first we lost destroyed us. We have been in this position before and found it hard to come back in adversity, but I was proud of how we responded tonight. They stuck with [it] and kept pushing.”

Caps’ Coach, Riley Emmerson instructed disrupt the Fifers’ rhythm in this penalty-strewn affair. It worked in the main. It only took 10 minutes in this derby match for frustrations to boil over as Paquet and Lukacevic squared up. The defenceman dropped his gloves. Although the ex-Flyer was not keen. His enforcer, Kyle Flemington stepped in on his behalf.

The second period saw Justin Fox catch Gerling with a wayward stick. Kyle Bigos stepped into the fight but escaped the third man in penalty. That was not an end to the amateur pugilism as TJ Caig wanted some of the big defencemen as well. Not long later and Bigos took exception to a check from Kyle Haines and once again, Caig stepped in.

It was a vital couple of points for their Gardiner Conference aspirations. Dutiaume’s men lead by six points with five to play. Dundee Stars have seven matches left on the schedule. As for Emmerson’s squad, they are propping up the table. Although, they can have a say on who wins the northern division with performances like last night.

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Steelers survive Manchester’s storming comeback

On Wednesday, Sheffield Steelers calmed Manchester Storm’s barrage on the last playoff spot as Jeff Legue netted a late winner at the Motorpoint Arena.

The 4-3 victory maintains the pressure on league-leading Cardiff Devils. But, also puts breathing space between them and the third-placed Nottingham Panthers.

The Yorkshire men needed this result not only to halt their recent slide but to maintain the four-point gap on Nottingham. The Panthers still have two games in hand over their compatriots.

Matt Sisca tied the match at two each and brought his season goal tally to 30 with a double. After exploiting a powerplay advantage on the Steelers. But, yet the Storm hit rough terrain and saw the penalties mount up as they conceded with just 73 seconds left.

The Panthers won again as they aim to keep in touch with the top as they moved past the Braehead Clan into fourth. Nottingham beat out Coventry Blaze 2-1 at the Skydome for their first win at the venue this campaign.

Brad Moran’s goal with just over two and a half minutes left secured the victory. While Coventry failed to take the chance to solidify their position in that last playoff spot.

You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Devils look to molt Sheffield Steel

All 10 teams will take the ice this weekend in Hockey’s Elite League as the race towards the playoffs heats up.

Last year’s runners-up, the Braehead Clan, were looking comfortable atop of the EHIL. But, they lost four of their previous five. As a result, the Cardiff Devils and the Sheffield Steelers moved above them.

Ryan Finnerty has overseen his side’s slump in which injuries have decimated his bench. The Renfrew outfit are now seven points behind first and have Nottingham catching up on them. Panthers being one point off their tally with a couple of games in hand.

With just over a month left of the season. It is a head-to-head battle between the Devils and the Steelers for the championship. The outcome may be clearer after this weekend’s double header between the pair.

Andrew Lord’s squad are four clear at the top and have hit form at the right time. Picking up eight points from a possible eight. Whereas the Yorkshire side has faltered recently. They have lost five of their previous six, three of them against Coventry Blaze.

At the opposite end of the table, there is optimising for those looking to finish in that final playoff spot.

Manchester Storm is the form team in the division with six wins in a row. Their debut season was fading into nothingness until a couple of weeks ago. Now they are just one point adrift of their West Midlands rivals. However, Chuck Weber’s unit have a few more fixtures to fulfill.

Although, as Blaze’s standing shows they are a team prone to struggling. Sunday highlighted this as they looked exhausted having once again been shutout in Kirkcaldy. Their goaltender, Brian Stewart – who is busy more nights than not – is an injury worry. With this news, it seems to be a perfect storm for the Mancunians to breeze past Coventry.

Edinburgh Capitals cannot finish higher than bottom. However, they can affect playoff seedings with their remaining fixtures.

Fife Flyers Head Coach Todd Duiaume, said on Sunday:

“It’s all about momentum.”

That drive that the Canadian talks of is something that the Fifers have in abundance. They can finish off the campaign as high as fifth and win the Gardiner Conference.

Named after Scottish netminder, Charlie Gardiner. The goalie born in Edinburgh entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.

In the northern conference, they are top. Four clear of last year’s winners Braehead. In the league, they are one behind Dundee Stars. Although, the Dundonians have completed a few extra fixtures.

Saturday pits east versus west as the Fifers travel to the Braehead Arena. A venue in which Dutiaume has coached to victory earlier in the season. Drawing on that experience will prove pivotal and will have a say in who wins the conference title.

You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.