Ice hockey: Edinburgh Capitals' blow to Braehead Clan hopes
Edinburgh Capitals coach Richard Hartmann insists his players are still fighting for the play-offs after dealing Braehead Clan a severe blow to their title hopes.
The Murrayfield men are on the wrong side of the black line in the league table, sitting second bottom with one weekend of regular season action left.
But Hartmann was relatively pleased at his side's endeavours and remains bullish that Capitals can gatecrash the play-off party.
"We played a good game on Saturday and, while I thought we played okay, we had to kill a lot of penalties, which was detrimental in trying to win the game," he said.
"Sunday's game was about taking our time, being patient and taking the chances at the right time and we managed to capitalise on that.
"The fact that other teams have taken points is not our primary concern and, as long as we end the season with our heads held high, but we're still fighting for that last play-off spot."
Capitals showed on Sunday they still have life in them, but with games running out and a deficit of three points to pull back, they'll have to do it the hard way.
A priceless home win over the Clan kept them in it, but the one disappointing thing was that fellow play-off competitors Fife Flyers and Hull Stingrays picked up points too.
At the top, it's all looking precarious for Clan now. They've had three defeats in their last four and they need favours from the others.
It was argued they had the easier fixture run-in, but with the title out of their hands, all they can do is pray and hope someone somewhere is feeling a little generous.
Clan took the points in a 5-1 win over Edinburgh in the first of their weekend double header on Saturday in front of a sell-out crowd at Braehead Arena.
Stefan Meyer scored one in each of the opening two periods to give Braehead a cushion, but Dennis Rix struck back to make it slightly nervy.
In front of the home support, Clan prevailed in the third period and further strikes from Scott Pitt, Matt Keith and Matt Haywood confirmed the points.
With title rivals Sheffield Steelers going to Cardiff Devils on Sunday, all Ryan Finnerty's side had to do was beat the Caps at Murrayfield and hope Cardiff could defeat Steelers.
The Welsh side certainly lived up to their end of the bargain, winning 6-2, but for Braehead, it was a potential season-defining night as they went down 2-1 to their Scottish rivals.
Sheffield lead the table by a point from Clan, with Cardiff a further point behind but with a game in hand.
Two from Daniel Naslund had Edinburgh ahead in the third period, but the Clan could only muster a late consolation from Pitt.
Clan coach Ryan Finnerty refused to throw in the towel but was gutted that his team didn't take the chance handed to them on this occasion.
"We're left on the outside looking in right now, but we can still do it," he said. "The situation isn't any different to last week as we close in on the remaining games.
"We had an opportunity to take it forward, we didn't seize it and we've got to win out to give ourselves any kind of chance."
The Flyers strengthened their position for a spot in the last eight by taking three points from four in their weekend clashes with bottom of the table Dundee Stars.
There was plenty of goals from both teams over the two nights, but it was the Stars that took the points in Saturday's 4-3 penalty shots victory over the Kirkcaldy side.
Jordan Fulton's opener for Fife was turned over by Sean Ringrose's double before Flyers reclaimed the lead through Chris Auger and Stephen Gunn.
Shane Lust's late equaliser sent the game beyond regulation time, where it came down to Ryan Grimshaw's penalty shot that won the Stars the game.
However, Jeff Hutchins' side couldn't replicate that on home ice on Sunday as Fife stormed to an 8-4 triumph.
It was the visitors that were 4-3 up inside the opening 20 minutes in a contest where defence seemed to take some time off.
Two from Bobby Chaumont and one apiece from Auger and Matt Reber gave them the edge despite strikes from Lust, John Dolan and Martin Cingel.
Ned Lukacevic struck the only goal in the second period to increase the lead then added his second in the third to open a three-goal gulf.
Kyle Gibbons pulled one back, but further goals from Scott Fleming and Lukacevic, to complete his hat-trick, made it a good win for Fife going into the final weekend of games.
Braehead Clan 5-1 Edinburgh Capitals
Fife Flyers 3-4 (PS) Dundee Stars
Dundee Stars 4-8 Fife Flyers
Edinburgh Capitals 2-1 Braehead Clan