Braehead stun Edinburgh Capitals to win penalty shoot-out
Braehead Clan head coach Ryan Finnerty thought he'd seen it all in ice hockey - until the final minutes of his team's win at Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday.
Clan were down two men as Edinburgh looked to kill the game off with a five-on-three powerplay, but Ed McGrane's late equaliser for Braehead turned the game on its head.
And Finnerty also praised backup netminder Mike Will, who took the place of injured Kyle Jones, to help the team win the nervy penalty shoot-out.
"Any time you equalise in the last minute when you're facing a five-on-three is pretty special and most of our bench thought we were down and out," Finnerty said.
"Ed popped up at a vital time and it breathed new life into us in what was a very tough game. I thought I'd seen everything in this sport until I saw what happened on Sunday.
"Mike Will came in after Kyle Jones picked up an injury on Saturday and he steps up when we need him. He's a valuable asset to this club and he helped us find a way to win."
The penalty shots win over the Capitals - following a 3-3 draw - keeps the Clan in second place and followed Saturday's 3-1 win over Coventry Blaze.
Joel Champagne and Lee Esders gave Braehead a two-goal lead over Coventry, before Adam Henrich pulled one back.
But Neil Trimm sealed the points up in a performance soured by the injury picked up by Jones in the final few minutes.
Then on Sunday, Champagne and Trimm put the Glasgow side ahead before Danny McIntyre began the fightback.
Curtis Leinweber then notched a leveller as the Murrayfield side drew level before the American gave his team the lead with his second and Capitals' third.
But drama followed when McGrane equalised short handed inside the final minute, taking the game into overtime, where Joe Cullen finished the decisive penalty shot to win the game.
Edinburgh ended the weekend 17 points behind eighth-placed Coventry for that final play-off spot with only 11 games left to play.
However, coach Richard Hartmann refuses to give up hope.
"I'll never give up on the play-offs as long as we can mathematically still do it, but we have to start giving something back to the fans," he said.
"How do I feel after the Braehead game? I can't really say on the record, but it's overall disappointment and for me, we lost in the last minute, not so much in penalty shots."
Dundee Stars will be glad to see the back of this week where they lost three crucial players as well as their two games at the weekend.
Tysen Dowzak and Brock McPherson will miss the run-in through injury while Jerry Pollastrone has now left to join Swedish club Mora after playing at the weekend.
New signing James Isaacs arrived, but his presence wasn't enough as the Stars started on Saturday with a 3-1 loss at Cardiff Devils.
Nico Sacchetti opened the scoring for the Stars, but Devils roared back to win the game through goals from Brad Plumton, Ziga Svete and Tomas Kurka.
Their fortunes didn't improve at Fife Flyers on Sunday as Dundee went down by the same scoreline.
The Flyers took advantage of a depleted Stars line-up to win 3-1, despite Bari McKenzie scoring in the first 30 seconds for the Tayside men.
Fife's captain Justin DaCosta scored an impressive equaliser, with Bobby Chaumont and Ned Lukacevic adding to it to keep the points in Kirkcaldy.
It moved Flyers to within eight points of Coventry in the race for the play-offs, despite starting the weekend with a 6-4 loss at champions-elect Belfast Giants.
Matt Reber gave the Flyers the lead at the league leaders, but the Giants soon surged into a 3-1 lead.
However, Derek Roehl and Jordan Fulton soon clawed Fife back to parity in the second period, but by the end of the second period, Belfast had gone 5-3 ahead.
Mark Garside added a sixth for the Irish side with Reber adding Fife's fourth in consolation as the champions-elect notched their 11th consecutive win.
Belfast Giants 6 Fife Flyers 4
Braehead Clan 3 Coventry Blaze 1
Cardiff Devils 3 Dundee Stars 1
Edinburgh Capitals 3 Braehead Clan 4 (PS)
Fife Flyers 3 Dundee Stars 1