Braehead Clan find form as Scottish rivals struggle

By Craig AndersonBBC Scotland
Ice hockey

Kevin Bergin reflected on a "really important" weekend after Braehead Clan notched up back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Saturday's 5-1 victory over Dundee Stars was followed by a hard-fought 3-2 triumph over Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday.

And the Clan player-assistant coach reckons it's all finally coming together for the Glasgow side after a transitional period.

He said: "We needed to get two wins on the trot and start to build momentum after starting the season with two defeats then going on the road for five weeks.

"A lot of things happened in that time, with Nathan Moon leaving so this weekend was really important for us to get points and get rolling.

"Our goalie has been coming up huge for us these last few weeks as well as our defence and in adversity, like this week, we've come through it and we're on the up."

If Saturday was as comfortable as it could get for the Clan, Sunday was a reminder that hard work is always going to be needed.

Two each from Ed McGrane and Bergin plus one from Tristan Harper saw Braehead stun league leaders Dundee.

More of the same was needed on Sunday, but despite taking a while to click into gear, Ryan Finnerty's side did what needed to be done at Edinburgh Capitals.

Joel Champagne's double, either side of another Bergin goal for the weekend, was enough despite the Capitals going ahead twice, through Les Reaney and Michal Dobron.

The outcome summed up another sorry weekend for the Capitals after throwing away a lead in Saturday's visit to Cardiff Devils.

Richard Hartmann's men were 5-4 ahead with just over half the third period to play in Wales when they capitulated, going on to lose the game 8-5.

Caps skipper Martin Cingel could not hide his frustration, saying: "Everyone is very disappointed in the dressing room and the way we lost to Braehead was exactly the way we lost to Cardiff on Saturday.

"We had opportunities to take points from both games and there were positives, but playing 45 or 50 minutes just isn't enough to expect to win matches."

Fife Flyers also endured a miserable weekend just when it had looked like they were coming into some form.

Two losses on the spin - to Hull Stingrays on Saturday then Dundee Stars 24 hours later - showed there's still work to be done in Kirkcaldy.

On Saturday, a disastrous first period saw Hull go 3-0 up through Omar Pacha, Jason Silverthorn and Jereme Tendler.

Rok Pajic pulled one back as the noisy Flyers' support tried to push their team into a comeback, but Guillaume Doucet added Hull's fourth to effectively kill the game off.

Sunday was not much better against a Dundee team still smarting from that defeat at Braehead. The Stars were not in the mood for sympathy though.

Despite going behind to Pajic's second goal of the weekend for Fife Flyers, Nikita Kashirsky found his way to goal twice in the second period to seal a win for the Tayside men.

There may be cracks starting to show in Dundee's early season resolve, but they are not done yet it seems.