PAISLEY PIRATES 3 EDINBURGH CAPITALS 1
Pirates kept their nerve to win an absolute thriller at Braehead against the Capitals and in doing so retained their 100% home record in the SNL this season, recording their seventh straight win, as hosts, since October.
In a tight opening period, Pirates had the balance of play, but found Mallinson in good form between the sticks for the visitors, and while Meechan for Pirates was less busy, he was nevertheless called into action several times to keep the scoresheet blank during the session. After a clash of heads early on, Stuart Miller was unable to continue and his loss perhaps upset the balance of the lines as coach Ian Turley juggled his bench to cover for the injured player. The hosts did in fact have a glorious chance to break the deadlock as the period drew to a close, as with 90 seconds remaining the Capitals took two concurrent minor penalties, leaving the hosts with a sustained session of 5 on 3, but in spite of their numerical advantage they couldn’t open the scoring as both teams left the ice with the goaltenders unbeaten.
Edinburgh played off the remaining 30 seconds of the double penalty at the beginning to the second session and, indeed, looked to have scored within a minute, the “goal” being washed out for a player being in the crease. This close escape appeared to spur on the Pirates, who took the lead a minute later as Wilson skated clear to fire home a top shelf marker to put his side in front. The visitors came back strongly, however, and, with the aid of a powerplay they were level halfway through the session as Tait scored to tie the scores at 1-1, there being no more scoring for the remaining ten minutes.
The first goal in the final session was going to be crucial and, much to the delight of the home fans, it went to Pirates, as Hassan skated past several challenges from his own defensive zone to fire a low shot past Mallinson for the go ahead goal with under two minutes gone in the period. In a tense build up to the final frantic few minutes, Pirates had chances to clinch the points, while the visitors equally could have tied matters up on several occasions. In the final two minutes, Capitals predictably pulled their netminder in favour of the extra skater, and with the visitors coming close a number of times, and Pirates content to play out time, spectators were nervously looking at the clock, but with eight seconds remaining Wilson gathered the puck from Thorp, and coolly took aim before firing into the vacant net to clinch the match, and send the home crowd wild in the process.
Pirates will conceivably play better at some juncture and lose. In a match where they perhaps did not perform as well as they have done at other times, they could not be faulted for effort, as they worked their socks off for the entire 60 minutes, whereas in previous years they may well have lost a match such as this one, and the result may prove to be hugely significant in the race for playoff places.
Scorers: Wilson (2+0), Hassan (1+0), Campbell & Thorp (both (0+1)
Penalties: Orr 4, Turley 2
Man of the Match: CHRIS WILSON (2+0)