Manchester Storm 2 – 5 Edinburgh Capitals
A workmanlike performance from the Edinburgh Capitals side saw the Scottish side hopes of a late surge for a playoff place boosted with a 5-2 win at the Altrincham Ice Arena, but in the process put a big dent into the Storm’s aspirations of securing a playoff spot at the same time
Edinburgh who looked dead and buried a few weeks ago when talk of playoff places was being mentioned, now sees them possibly trying to force their way into the reckoning if they can get on a hot streak late in the season. They got off to a flyer though in the contest on Saturday night, when Karel Hromas fired the Caps’ ahead at 1:37 into the game with the puck going straight through the legs of Mike Clemente for an early lead.
Manchester didn’t seem to be at the races in the early exchanged and with the side suffering a blow in midweek with Matt Bissonnette suffering a leg injury in their midweek friendly win over Milton Keynes Lightning, it saw the short bench getting shorter. The visitors looked by far more up for the fight and was playing like more a playoff bound team than the hosts were. Manchester looked like a bunch of lost souls out on the ice and like they had never played together in a game, with passes going astray and no communication it seemed between them.
Jack Prince got the hosts on the board at 9:26, with Cody Cartier and Paul Phillips assisting on the home opener and perhaps this was the boost they needed to get into the game. It did have a strange feel of whoever was playing the better hockey in the game would seemingly concede a goal and with Edinburgh being the better side of the two in the opening ten minutes of it contest, it then found them going behind to another Jack Prince goal to make it 2-1. Though it was thanks mainly to a fantastic assist from Darian Dziurzynski where the Canadian spinned away and then played a nice pass across goal for Prince to tap home.
However with Manchester now looking the brighter of the two teams with time ticking down on the opening period, it saw the Caps tying the game up at 2-2 courtesy of Ian Schultz and had Clemente having a rare night off, as he wasn’t his normal solid self and will have bitterly disappointed to concede the two he did in the opening period.
Second period was full of mistakes and errors by the home side which allowed the Scottish side to make the most of their chances when they came and had Michael DOrazio making it 3-2 Capitals with 25:21 gone in the game before Jacob Johnston then struck to make it 4-2 for the visitors and leave the home side unable to respond at all.
Storm looked off the pace and had no one was able to generate any type of spark for the side to get things going. Third period was fairly flat with Edinburgh doing their best to make it hard for the hosts to get many clear cut chances and closed down the shooting lanes and had the Capitals fans sensing a big win was coming for their side.
Manchester pulled their goalie to try and get into position to score a couple of late goals and get the game within one. Unfortunately the visitors finished the home side off with an empty net goal through Pavel Vorobyev at 58:37 to see the Storm condemned to their fourth straight defeat and leave them hanging onto their playoff place by a thread as the crunch games lay ahead of them.
The loss at home to Edinburgh was compounded by another defeat the following night in Coventry, with Manchester’s persistent overtime curse continuing to plague them in a 3-2 shootout defeat. After the weekend’s games it leaves Manchester and Coventry both three points clear of their nearest rivals in the table in Dundee in 9th spot, however both the Storm and Stars have played the same amount of games.
Things don’t get any easier for the Storm either as next weekend, with games against the league leaders in Cardiff Devils at home on Friday night and that is followed by a trip over the English Channel to Belfast the day after before facing Braehead in midweek.
Manchester: Jack Prince 2+0, Darian Dziurzynski 0+2, Cody Cartier 0+2
Edinburgh: Jacob Johnston 1+2, Ian Schultz 1+1, Karel Hromas 1+0, Michael DOrazio 1+0, Pavel Vorobyev 1+0, Mason Wilgosh 0+2, Garrett Milan 0+2, Michal Dobron 0+1, Travis Fullerton 0+1, Jared Staal 0+1
Penalties / Powerplays:
Manchester: 4 PIMS – PP: 0/1 (0.00%)
Edinburgh: 2 PIMS – PP: 0/2 (0.00%)
Manchester: Mike Clemente – Shots 35 + (1 empty net)- Saves 31 (88.6
Edinburgh : Travis Fullerton – Shots 36 – Saves 34 (94.4%)