The first period was quickly taken control of by the Giants, when just 40 seconds into the start of play, Ryan Martinelli (#88) gave the visitors the lead. They then quickly capitalized on Edinburgh’s rather slow start with another goal, this time from Steve Saviano (#12) 1:22 into the period. Compiling on the Capitals’ misery, Jay King (#7) received a delay of game penalty for putting the puck out of play. Fortunately for the Capitals, they were able to kill off the penalty until Belfast’s John Kurtz (#21) was called for slashing, which then gave the Capitals a 13 second power-play which they could not convert. After the penalties, the Capitals started to come into the game, generating multiple chances on goal, and controlling possession well. Alexander Islamov (#86) put the Capitals on the board 10:13 into the period on a nice pass from #24 Tyler Plews which involved very effective cycling after a Capitals power-play. Then, just 3 minutes later, the Capitals tied the game through Harry Ferguson (#14) off a shot wide which careened off the boards. Belfast’s Brendan Connolly (#63) was also called for a cross-checking penalty at 14:04. Toward the end of the period, Belfast appeared to tire out, and the Capitals took full advantage, controlling play for most of the end of the period. Perhaps they should have taken a lead as well when Marek Tvrdon (#71) missed from in close on the 3rd power-play.
Score after 1: Belfast 2 Edinburgh 2
The Capitals started off the second period with strong behind-the-net play, however, could not find a goal despite the chances. Belfast countered effectively, and created opportunities of their own, and looked the better team of the period as the Capitals tired as time ticked off the clock.
Both the Capitals and Giants had early penalties (Edinburgh were caught with too many men on the ice and Belfast’s Mark Garside [#7] for hooking) but each team killed off their opponents’ power-play. The major event of the period came when Giants’ forward Darcy Murphy (#15) was brought down on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot which was saved by Capitals netminder Jordan McLaughlin (#31). McLaughlin made a number of key saves during the middle of the period, however could not stop Giants’ 6-4 forward Matt Bissonnette (#73) from converting on the power-play, tipping a shot from the point from Colin Shields (#19). Edinburgh went to the power-play toward the end of the period but could not convert. The Capitals seemed to become more selective with their shots as well, and they looked to be the team who was tiring. After 40 minutes, Belfast went into the third with a lead.
Score after 2: Belfast 3 Edinburgh 2
The Capitals opened the third period with intent, creating chances early on, but were unable to capitalize on any of them. The period was mostly back and forth, with Edinburgh perhaps wasting opportunities due to poor shot selection. The Capitals then went to the power-play, but could not score, though Igor Valeyev (#92) tied the game at 3 as the power-play expired, squeaking a wrist shot past Jackson Whistle (#1). Belfast then went on a power-play of their own, in which Jim Vandermeer (#9) unleashed a slap shot from the point which beat McLaughlin. As the period dragged on, the Capitals appeared to lose focus, and were prone to poor defensive positioning. The Capitals pulled McLaughlin for the last minute of the game, but were unable to find a tying goal.
Final Score: Belfast 4 Edinburgh 3
1. Mike Cazzola all over the ice tonight
The Capitals’ alternate captain and points leader did not register any goals or assists in this game, but his work rate was definitely noticeable. Cazzola consistently drove play for the Capitals, and generated quite a few zone entries while keeping possession. He seems to just steamroll through the neutral zone and put the Capitals in a good position offensively whenever he is in possession of the puck.
2. Jordan McLaughlin bounces back with some key saves
During the second period, he made several key saves which kept the Capitals within fighting distance, including a penalty shot save on Darcy Murphy. McLaughlin stopped 25 of 29 shots thrown at him. “We played a lot better than we have the past few games,” McLaughlin said. “I try to do my best to keep the score as tight as possible.”
3. Capitals’ slow start puts them on the losing end of this tightly contested affair
Giving up two goals in the first minute and a half is not ideal for any team, and unfortunately, the two goals given up by the Capitals early on can only be blamed on a lack of concentration. To their credit, the Capitals fought back and tied the game, though they were always on the outside looking in of this match. “The guys put in a good effort,” Defenseman and Captain Michael D’Orazio said, who did not play tonight. “Obviously guys are a little tired from the long road trip but we do need to have a better start.” Harry Ferguson of the Capitals was named man of the match, as he scored a goal to bring his points total to 2.
Image Courtesy of Edinburgh Capitals