Scottish ice hockey: Edinburgh Capitals lose twice after key duo exit; Fife Flyers, Braehead Clan, Dundee Stars
Edinburgh Capitals interim coach Mike D'Orazio admits the departure of two more players this week hindered his plans - but praised those who stepped in to replace them.
Nikita Kolesnikovs and Pavel Vorobyev stunned the Caps with their move to Polish side Cracovia Krakow earlier this week.
But D'Orazio insists he was happy enough with the effort from his depleted team, despite another two losses - 5-4 at Dundee Stars on Saturday, and 3-0 at home to Milton Keynes on Sunday.
"It was tough having to deal with the two departures during the week, but it meant juggling the lines going into these games," the Caps coach said.
"They were two key guys that left, so it opened up opportunities for the other players in the team to jump in and show what they can do.
"I thought we had a good effort over the weekend, but we're running with two and a half lines right now and we got a bit tired.
"We had chances in both games; but didn't capitalise on them, especially in five-on-three power-plays. If we had taken advantage, it could have been a different outcome."
The two weekend defeats were just the latest in a season to forget for basement side Capitals, as their current winless run extended to six games.
They looked good for large portions of Saturday's game at in-form Dundee Stars, but Omar Pacha's side rallied in the third period to take the points.
Stars' Chris Lawrence and Caps youngster Harry Ferguson traded goals in the first period, before two from Sergei Banashkov had the visitors 3-1 up.
Pacha pulled one back late in the middle session, but the home side kicked on with further markers from Gabriel Levesque, Brian Hart and Cody Carlson to make it 5-3.
A late goal from Igor Valeyev with a couple of minutes to go set up a nervy finale, but they couldn't add another to level.
The Caps returned home on Sunday to face second-bottom Lightning, another team bereft of form in recent games.
However MK plundered the points from Murrayfield as Lewis Hook scored twice, with Jonathan Boxill adding a late finish to secure two big points for the visitors.
As for Dundee, their 5-4 win over Edinburgh on Saturday made it nine victories out of 10 and five in a row as they continued their pursuit of a top-eight berth.
But Nottingham Panthers stopped them in their tracks on Sunday as they beat the Tayside outfit 3-0 to boost their own hopes of getting back into the title race.
Luke Pither and Jeff Brown put Nottingham two up before Alexander Mokshantsev added the third in the final period to blank Dundee.
Braehead Clan and Fife Flyers went head-to-head twice in two huge Gardiner Conference meetings that saw each team win at home.
Clan's 3-2 win on Saturday was their first over their big rivals this season and first in six attempts, in front of a sell-out Braehead Arena crowd.
Christoffer Bjorklund and Carlo Finucci each struck to tie the game at one apiece after two periods, with Danick Gauthier putting the Flyers in front early in the third.
Braehead responded almost instantly through Adam Brace before Felix Poulin secured a big win for the Clan with what proved to be the winning goal.
Flyers gave the perfect reaction in Kirkcaldy on Sunday as they came out on top with a 5-2 victory.
Shayne Stockton opened the scoring for the home side, but by the end of the opening session, Braehead were in front courtesy of two Ryan Potulny goals.
Stockton equalised, but a hat-trick from Finucci turned the game in their favour as Fife re-opened a four-point lead at the top of the Conference, with two games in hand over Clan.
WEEKEND RESULTS (all game league unless stated)
Braehead Clan 3-2 Fife Flyers
Dundee Stars 5-4 Edinburgh Capitals
Edinburgh Capitals 0-3 Milton Keynes Lightning
Fife Flyers 5-2 Braehead Clan
Nottingham Panthers 3-0 Dundee Stars