Sending out top line of Pavel Vorobyev, Mike Cazzola, and Marek Tvrdon, the Capitals looked like the second best team for the first few minutes of the game, with Braehead controlling possession early. This continues upon the Capitals’ tendencies to get off to slow starts, however, they were able to grow into the game eventually. The Capitals were able to generate pressure and shots on goal in the middle, but could not find a finish as play opened up and the action flowed from end to end. A major event in the period saw Braehead’s Craig Cescon scrum with Callum Boyd, resulting in a roughing penalty. The best chance of the powerplay saw Alexander Islamov shoot from in close, but his shot was saved by Braehead goalie Ryan Nie. Killing the penalty gave Braehead a boost, and they were able to score 14:34 into the period on Brendan Brooks’ shot which beat Capitals goalie Pavel Shegalo glove side. Islamov then had another golden chance to score but was denied by Nie who made a great save to preserve the lead for the visitors. Late in the period, Braehead caught the Capitals short-sighted and entered a 2 on 1 rush, in which Braehead’s Brooks slid a pass to Tyler Scofield who beat an outstretched Shegalo blocker side. The period ended with some pushing and shoving, as Braehead appeared to be agitated by Callum Boyd. A penalty was assessed to Braehead as the period expired, and the Capitals would go into the locker room down 2-0, but on a power-play.
Score after 1st period: Braehead 2 Edinburgh 0
The Capitals were unable to convert on their opening powerplay, and only registered one shot on goal during their advantage. After the penalty expired, Braehead were able to establish a period of dominance, highlighted by poor defensive positioning and awareness from the Capitals, which lead to a Braehead powerplay after Jay King tripped a man going to the net. The Capitals were able to kill the powerplay off, and defenseman Rihards Grigors looked particularly strong on the kill, and has been the best defenseman for the Capitals through two periods. Midway through the period, Dillon Lawrence broke in on goal one against Nie, who rushed out of his crease, colliding with Lawrence, leaving an empty net which Marek Tvrdon could not put the puck in to. Shortly after, Braehead’s Landon Oslanski received a penalty for interference, and the Capitals went to their third powerplay of the game. Setting up in Braehead’s zone through Pavel Vorobyev’s entry, Igor Valeyev found lurking defenceman Denis Trakhanov with a wonderful cross ice pass, and Trakhanov fired a shot into the top right corner of the net to cut the lead to 2-1. Then, just 30 seconds later, on the rush Mike Cazzola found Vorobyev with an accurate cross ice pass, who then dropped the puck to Marek Tvrdon who beat Nie to level the score at 2-2. After a number of nice saves made by Pavel Shegalo, he was beaten off a quick faceoff shot by Brendan Brooks for his second goal of the game. Braehead would score a second on a rebound which was not controlled by Shegalo and was put in by Cameron Burt. The Capitals defence fell flat on this sequence, and their poor awareness was exposed. Braehead would take another penalty late, but it was killed off.
Score after 2nd period: Braehead 4 Edinburgh 2
The Capitals started off the third period strong, generating multiple chances in attempt to catch Braehead off guard, but they could not make their early pressure pay off. After the early onslaught, Braehead put pressure of their own on the Capitals, and scored off a pass from behind the net which Tyler Scofield put into the net. The majority of the period was spent in the Capitals zone, with short bursts of breakout which were quickly snuffed out by Braehead. The Capitals went to the powerplay with 2:47 remaining in the third, and generated a few good scoring chances from in close but could not finish. The powerplay ended early after Alexander Islamov tripped a Braehead forward about to break away. Pavel Shegalo made a number of nice saves during the period after the goal, however a five goal against night cannot be counted as effective. Shegalo ended up stopping 26 of 31 shots. The man of the match was Braehead’s Tyle Scofield with a two goal night to bring his points total to 9 on the year.
Final Score: Braehead 5 Edinburgh 2
1. Lawrence – Ferguson – Ireland line looks strong
Last game against Belfast this line was overshadowed by the strong play of the Cazzola line, but today, the pairing of Ireland and Lawrence with Ferguson proved to be a good combination for the Capitals. They created a ton of zone entries early on, and was arguably the Capitals best line defensively. Perhaps one thing this line misses is a physical presence, as they didn’t establish a checking heavy fore-check tonight. 2
2. Powerplay finally gets the job done
Although going 1 for 6 tonight, the Capitals’ powerplay finally lit the lamp, through a Denis Trakhanov lazer from the point. “Scoring goals and points is very nice but the team needs to win and be successful,” Trakhanov commented through translator. “It’s just a goal, it doesn’t matter really,” he added. Again, the powerplay continued to look dangerous as it did against Belfast, though perhaps a reason more powerplay goals were not scored is due to over passing. The Capitals had the tendency to overcomplicate their play tonight, perhaps wasting chances in the process.
3. Where to go from here?
Tonight’s loss marks the Capitals’ 10th defeat in a row, and understandably, there is concern around the Capitals’ fan base and in the locker room. The team’s defensive positioning and awareness appeared visually lacking tonight, as evidenced by Braehead’s 4th goal, where all of the Capitals’ skaters were completely unaware of the rebound generated by Braehead’s shot. Additionally, the Capitals struggled with offensive zone faceoffs this game. In the first period, the Capitals only won 3 offensive zone faceoffs, and perhaps had they won more, they could have generated more chances on net. “We got to try and play a full sixty minutes of hockey,” Alternate Captain Mike Cazzola commented. “I think we have to start playing with each other. We have to start playing with pride and we have to work. We just have to keep it simple and create good habits,” Cazzola added.
The Capitals will look to rebound against Guildford away on the 11th of November.
Image Courtesy of Edinburgh Capitals