(AGG 12-12-Comets win on penalties)
Pirates and Comets served up an epic SEVENTEEN goal thriller, which saw the home side edge through on the night-but the home side suffered the heartbreak of going out of the Scottish Cup to the holders on penalty shots, after the teams finished level over the two legs.
The visitors were first to score through McNicoll after only a minute to put them two ahead on aggregate after their 4-3 first leg win last week, but Pirates found their feet quickly as first Walker, linking up with Divok, and then Andreucci, put the hosts ahead on the night with just after five minutes played. Chances continued to go abegging at both ends and Comets were level after 15 minutes as Edmonds beat Russell to tie it up at 2-2. The scoring for the session wasn’t finished, however, and with Pirates on the powerplay they took advantage of the extra player to net through Dobson with two minutes remaining in the period to make it 3-2 at the break.
The glut of scoring was actually stepped up in the middle session as with Pirates again on the powerplay they netted their fourth through Walker inside four minutes of the restart, going nap two minutes later through Henderson, but McLuskey was quick to pull the visitors back into it with a goal before the halfway point for 5-3. Pirates hit a purple patch soon after, netting three times through Guy, Divok and Walker, the latter netting his hat trick, to go to 8-3, but Comets refused to lie down and netted two powerplay goals through Edmonds and McLuskey in the space of 50 seconds to make it 8-5 on the night, Pirates two ahead on aggregate. With time in the period running out, and with players and spectators alike trying to catch their collective breath, Walker stepped in for his fourth goal of the night and send the teams to the dressing rooms with Pirates an unlikely 9-5 ahead, and 12-9 on aggregate.
With the home side looking good with a three goal aggregate cushion they seemed content to hold what they had in the final session, and Comets had most of the play without putting Russell under great pressure in the early part of the period. However, with less than six minutes remaining, the roof fell in on the home side as while on the powerplay they were caught on the hop as McLuskey broke and sent in a shot which appeared to squeeze beneath Russell, and the aggregate lead was down to two. Worse was to follow, as Dundee repeated the shorthanded move two minutes later and this time it was Dolan squeezing the puck past Russell to cut the lead to two on the night and one on aggregate. Nerves clearly showing on the ice and in the stands and Comets continued to have the momentum, and there were under 90 seconds remaining when McGiffen tied the aggregate scoreb at 12-12 to take the game into penalty shots.
Dundee scored with their first penalty, while Walker’s shot for Pirates was parried by Michie to put his side ahead. Edmunds put the visitors ahead at 2-0 in the shoot out, but Divok pulled it back to 2-1. Russell knocked away Dolan’s third penalty, but with Henderson needing to score for the home side to take it into sudden death, his shot was saved by Michie and Pirates were out in a game where they had comfortable advantages at several junctures on the night, but just couldn’t put the Comets away.
Player/coach Adam Walker admitted to being “bitterly disappointed” after the game. He said, “We did enough to win the tie but we didn’t close it out. We will take a lot from the game and while we’re happy to score nine goals we can’t expect to go far when we concede eight.”
Pirates now face another tough home game on Saturday when they go head to head with unbeaten Murrayfield Racers at Braehead Braehead (face off 6.30pm).
Paisley Pirates face another in a series of tough tests this coming Saturday at Braehead Arena as they take on the high flying Murrayfield Racers who are so far unbeaten in the Scottish National League, but it’s a challenge which Head Coach Ian Turley is looking forward to.
“We’re coming off the back of a disappointing cup tie against Dundee Comets where we won the home leg but lost the tie on penalty shots,” he said. “Maybe it was a little lack of experience which we lacked, but we’ve had three very tight games in recent weeks, two against the Comets, and one against the Racers a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve shown we can compete with these teams. We scored 9 goals against the Comets which suggests that offensively we’re ok, but I’m expecting another tough game against the Racers. It was a 4-3 loss to them when we played them in Edinburgh in what was a good game in front of a good crowd so we’re hoping that the Racers’ fans will maybe travel in numbers to see what should be another good advert for the SNL. If you compare where we were at the start of the season to where we are now the difference on our play is a significant one and it’s showing in our performances.”
“If we stick to what we need to do for the entire 60 minutes I believe we will be ok and I’m certainly expecting fans to get full value for their admission fee as they did last weekend.
Murrayfield have a top line up featuring a number of players with Elite League experience, such as one time Edinburgh Capitals [layer/coach Martin Cingel, and it’s sure to be another cracker in a match which faces off on SATURDAY at 6.30pm.