Injury-hit Brahead Clan continue to impress

By Craig AndersonBBC Scotland
Ice hockey

Tristan Harper expects an exciting future for Braehead Clan after their huge four-point weekend.

Victories against Edinburgh Capitals and Sheffield Steelers were recorded with five key players missing for injury-hit Clan.

And Harper believes the players are showing great character and tenacity.

"The win in Sheffield is huge for us in the context of the league, because as well as being short-handed, we're not expected to be as good as we are," he said.

"It's not fun seeing your team-mates hobble off the ice, but there are guys that can step up and take advantage of the opportunities: that's what's happening just now.

"We would have been happy to get at least a point and the adversity just now will make us stronger in the long run. I can't wait to see what happens when we're all fit again."

Clan's 4-2 win in Sheffield was undoubtedly the result of the weekend, but they began on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Edinburgh Capitals.

Peter Holecko opened the scoring in a tepid affair as the Caps went a goal up late in the first period before Matt Haywood levelled from close range.

Further goals from Neil Trimm and Joel Champagne clinched the win in a display that said more about Edinburgh's problems than Braehead's injury problems.

Clan then headed to Yorkshire on Sunday and took the lead that Matt Towe and Champagne had turned over Jason Hewitt's opener for Steelers.

Shane Lust added a third for the visitors, before Robert Dowd struck and Trimm sealed the win with an empty net goal late on.

Edinburgh's poor season continued following another winless weekend.

They followed up Saturday's loss in Glasgow with a 6-4 defeat by Dundee Stars, who remain on the coattails of Belfast Giants in the Elite League table.

Richard Hartmann put the Caps ahead, but Sam McCluskey and Nikita Kashirsky turned the game in Dundee's favour before Jade Portwood levelled for the hosts.

Another from Kashirsky and one from Mike Wirll saw the Stars go into the third period with a two-goal advantage, but Hartmann netted again to close the gap.

McCluskey scored his second while Curtis Leinweber found the net before Kashirsky added his hat-trick goal to seal another big win for Jeff Hutchins' men.

It followed on from Friday's overtime loss at Nottingham Panthers after Stars recovered from 3-0 down to lose 4-3 in the end.

But the weekend left player-coach Jeff Hutchins a happy man, but he refuses to get carried away at his side's lofty league position.

"We're taking each game at a time and we need to concentrate on what's making us successful," he said.

"All in all, I'm happy at the way the guys recovered from being three down in Nottingham to get a point and it's been a positive weekend for us."

Finally, after last week's memorable two games for Fife Flyers, it was a sobering one this time as they came off two disappointing losses.

Sheffield Steelers gained revenge for their loss at home to the Flyers last week by winning 3-0 in Kirkcaldy, with goals from Steven Goertzen, Jeff Legue and Robert Dowd.

Then on Sunday, they were on the wrong end of a 7-1 drubbing at Nottingham Panthers, who raced into a 3-0 first period lead through Chris Capraro, Bob Wren and Brandon Benedict.

Fife's capitulation was complete when Nick Anderson, another two from Benedict and one from Leigh Salters sealed Panthers' points before Euan Forsyth scored a late consolation.



Elite League

Nottingham Panthers 3 Dundee Stars 4 (OT)


Braehead Clan 3 Edinburgh Capitals 1

Fife Flyers 0 Sheffield Steelers 3


Edinburgh Capitals 4 Dundee Stars 6

Nottingham Panthers 1 Fife Flyers 7

Sheffield Steelers 2 Braehead Clan 4