Edinburgh Capitals 3-2 Dundee Stars (SO)

By Kris Smith

The Capitals welcomed the Stars for the first of two friendly games. The Stars come into the game off the back of a hard fought victory over the Belfast Giants the previous night. Both teams were still waiting on some import players to arrive in Scotland but it gave the chance for both sides to test out their different strategies and give their under 23’s some ice-time.

Edinburgh had the first chance inside the opening minute, a low shot from the slot was met by the pads of Travis Fullerton to deny the home side an early lead. However that is exactly what the Stars got as Emerson Hrynyk fired a shot from the blueline that took a bounce and slipped past Pavel Shegalo in the Caps net. Malcom Gould was credited with the final touch that gave Dundee the early lead at 2:43.

The Stars found some momentum from this and turned up the intensity in the Edinburgh zone but could not get any clean shots away. Igor Valeyev tipped a snapshot just wide of the net after three minutes. The Capitals found themselves in the driving seat after Calum Robertson worked hard to keep the puck deep in the Dundee end, Travis Fullerton was forced to make a few saves and kept the Caps at bay but was immediately tested again before the danger was cleared.

A lofted pass to centre ice was picked up by Taylor Stefishen who slid the puck in front to a teammate who could not finish the move. Malcolm Gould was the spearhead of a Stars counter-attack but his shot went high into the shoulder of the Edinburgh netminder, at the ten-minute mark. Mike Cazzola then broke away down the other end of the ice and fired a shot off the outside of the post and a second shot was tipped wide by Fullerton.

Riley Stadel started a strong attacking move for Dundee and released a strong slapshot from the blueline which was saved before Joey De Concilys sent it round the boards for Malcolm Gould who passed it in front for Taylor Dickin who shot past Shegalo at 7:28.

Edinburgh looked to get back in the game as Calum Robertson’s shot deflected high and out of play. Juris Upitis then tried to bury one top shelf but Fullerton made the save before spilling the rebound which the Stars defence struggled to clear. Dmittri Khristich’s side got a second chance as Dylan Anderson’s shot was spilled but the Caps failed to punish.

Dundee got their fair share of chances in the tail end of the period as Gould passed across the ice to Dickin but he failed to redirect the puck goalward. Jimmy Jensen got his first opportunity to score as a Stars player but his effort was saved. Rihards Grigors almost got one back for the home side as his first effort was tipped away but his second shot was sent wide by Fullerton.

Some physical play along the boards by both teams went unpunished by referee Toby Craig and the first period ended with Stars taking the advantage 2-0 but Edinburgh were applying pressure in the later stages.

Craig Holland entered the net for Dundee to start the second period, his first appearance of the season and he faced some early pressure but it came to nothing. Upitis sent Valeyev through but Holland continued his great start and closed the five-hole.

The game started to go end-to-end again after Dundee stepped up their tempo and started to cut through the middle with real pace, Jordan Cownie blasted a slapshot from high in the slot, only to be

blocked by the pad of Shegalo. Tyler Plews drew the first penalty of the game as he delivered a hit which was deemed high by Toby Craig, so he went to the box for two minutes.

Omar Pacha’s team failed to test the Caps with their powerplay as they spent most of the time chasing down dumped pucks, they eventually set-up in the offensive zone but Shegalo stood firm to keep his team in touching distance. The powerplay ended as Stars broke down the ice with Johan Anderson receiving a pass from Jensen but he sent the shot wide, Sergei Banashkov immediately went on the counter-attack but Sheepdog was there to stonewall him.

A mistake on the Caps blueline by the Dundee defence, let Callum Boyd take a loose puck on a breakaway, he came in down the middle at speed but fired over the goal. The home side had stepped up their defensive game as Stars struggled to break them down. Edinburgh used this to their advantage as Banashkov was the first to test the ex-Capitals keeper before he denied another four efforts from the opposition.

The game reached the halfway point with Edinburgh looking the stronger side. Mike Cazzola was set up by Tyler Plews but he failed to hit the six-by-four opening. The Stars were next to find a break as Tyler Brickler drove to the net but was robbed of the puck by Duncan Speirs, then Gabriel Lévesque tipped a pass towards the back post but Shegalo was there to deflect.

The last five minutes seen the Capitals circling around the Stars defensive zone but they failed to get a shot off. Omar Pacha and the Dundee bench got a scare when a Banashkov shot trickled through Craig Holland but it did not cross the line, despite a premature whistle from the referee. Jay King would not return to the bench for the remainder of the game after falling awkwardly and looked in a lot of pain.

Jordan Cownie had the last chance of the period as he passed the puck to the back-door, where a waiting Taylor Dickin could not put it home. Dundee gathered the momentum in the final moments but failed to create any chances.

Edinburgh dug deep for the start of the third period and pulled a goal back inside the first minute as Mike Cazzola was gifted a pass right in front of the Stars goal and naturally shot it high past Holland. Caps really stepped up their game and started to test the Stars. Mike Cazzola was once again the dangerman this time firing wide, as did Stefishen when he tried to go five-hole.

Gould was straight down the other end of the ice and fired the puck between two defencemen before it hit the underside of the bar and came back out. Emerson Hrynyk was then given a two-minute slashing penalty with fifteen minutes to go and it was followed by a five-minute delay as there was an problem with the Plexiglass. The Caps powerplay produced few chances but when they did they looked lethal.

Dundee once again started to build some momentum and after a few efforts were saved Jimmy Jensen’s effort was deflected away by the blocker of Shegalo. Caps started to breakdown defensively during the mid-section of the third stanza as Dundee were cutting through their defence, Jimmy Jensen was next to rattle the underside of the bar to no success.

Sloppy passes started to cause trouble for both teams. Michael D’Orazio gave Dylan Anderson a chance to level the game but he couldn’t send the puck in the right direction. It all became end-to-end again as Dundee tried to assert their dominance on the match, Hrynyk dumped a big hit on the Caps winger as the game heated up.

Adam Harding’s one-timer could have sealed the victory for Stars but Shegalo was their once again, Dundee were given a huge chance as Edinburgh got called for too-many men with 3:26 on the clock. It all fell apart when Igor Valeyev sent a pass, from behind the Stars net, in front to D’Orazio who one-timed it high above the shoulder of Holland, for a shorthanded equaliser. Nothing could separate either side in the final minutes as the game headed to overtime for a second time this weekend.

3-on-3 overtime gave both sides plenty of space and it was Dundee who utilised it most but Edinburgh had the first shot as Stefishen shot wide of Sheepdog’s cage. Malcolm Gould was next to go close as his shot deflected in traffic and went wide.

Igor Valeyev could have finished it as the Caps went two-on-one but he lost an edge as he wound up for a slap shot. Dundee then released a few shots from close range but none could beat the Edinburgh netminder. They continued the pressure after several more key chances went unfinished but Jordan Cownie found himself with the puck on his stick, he switched to the backhand and flicked it just centimetre’s wide of the post.

Cownie was again in possession of the puck as every other player was in a scramble in front of goal, he pulled the trigger but could find no way past Pavel Shegalo. The game needed a conclusion and it would be decided by penalty shots.

Jimmy Jensen would step-up first for Dundee, he took it close in and found the twine, Mike Cazzola could not find the same fortune as Craig Holland made the save.

Jordan Cownie went second and was unable to beat Pavel Shegalo with all his moves. Sergei Banashkov took the puck through the middle, deked and went top shelf on Holland to tie the game.

Riley Stadel looked to be the hero once again for Dundee but with a similar move from the night before, he was denied. Calum Robertson weaved through the middle but got too close and made it easy for Holland to clear.

Taylor Dickin took the Stars fourth penalty and after cutting left, then pulling the puck to is backhand, he was denied by the crossbar. Taylor Stefishen also headed down the middle, sending his shot towards the top corner but Holland tipped it wide.

Gabriel Lévesque tried to put the pressure on the home side as he skated left, came across Shegalo but sent it high over the goal. Igor Valeyev skated out to take the tenth penalty shot, he went straight down the middle pulled it to his backhand and lifted it over the extended legs of Holland and into the net.

Edinburgh claimed victory on home ice, in the first of two exhibitions games. Joey De Concilys and Mike Cazzola were given the Man of the Match awards.

Dundee welcome Edinburgh to the DIA on Wednesday night for the second friendly match, face-off is at 7:30pm.