Edinburgh Capitals end losing streak with victory over Sheffield
Edinburgh Capitals' Ned Lukacevic insists there was no added pressure on him to score the penalty shot that ended their nine-game losing run.
The former Fife Flyer joined the club in December after being released by Coventry Blaze and had lost in every one of his nine appearances in a Caps jersey so far.
So he was pleased help Edinburgh finally pick up two points in a penalty shots win over Sheffield Steelers, where his effort proved to be the difference.
"After ten games, it was nice to get my first victory with the Capitals," Lukacevic said. "It's been a tough season so far so it was good to get that winning feeling back.
"I wasn't thinking of our form or anything like that when I stepped up to take my penalty shot. It's not something you should dwell on too much at that moment.
"There wasn't any added pressure, but I knew it was important after the game we had and it's a huge boost to help the team win."
The Caps began the weekend with a heavy loss to Nottingham Panthers, going down 8-2 in yet another disappointing night.
Juraj Kolnik and Stephen Schultz had Nottingham ahead by two before Paul Zanette pulled one back for Edinburgh.
However the Panthers roared into gear, with two from Brad Moran, either side of strikes by Robert Farmer and Kolnik, before Lukacevic pulled clawed another back for the Caps.
Andy Bohmbach and David Ling made the scoreline even more emphatic in the third period as Edinburgh struggled again.
They came home to Murrayfield on Sunday where that nine-game winning run was finally snapped, beating Sheffield Steelers 4-3 after penalty shots.
David Rutherford and Lukacevic were on the scoresheet before Steelers levelled through Jace Coyle and Guillaume Desbiens.
Ben O'Connor put Sheffield in front, with Rutherford scoring his second to send the game into overtime then penalty shots, where Lukacevic came up trumps.
Braehead Clan went to Fife Flyers on the back of two big wins against Belfast Giants and Dundee Stars, but ended up losing 5-2 in Kirkcaldy.
Matt Keith and Alex Leavitt put the Clan in front, but Flyers, who beat Edinburgh Capitals 3-2 on Hogmanay, scored five answered goals to clinch the points.
Stephen Gunn, Justin Fox, Kyle Haines, Nico Sacchetti and Nicholas Rioux were all on target for Todd Dutiaume's men on a good night for them.
They went to Dundee Stars on Sunday and continued in the same vein, beating the Tayside outfit 4-3 after the game went to penalty shots.
TJ Caig and Danny Stewart scored in the opening two minutes to give Fife the perfect start, but Bobby Chaumont and Lou Dickenson equalised in the second period.
Chaumont, with his second of the game against his old team, put the Stars in front, but Ryan Dingle cancelled that strike out to send the game into overtime followed by penalties.
Nico Sacchetti scored the winner against his former side to give the Flyers a four-point weekend, deciding the game with his penalty shot.
As for the Stars, they picked up a badly needed win at Cardiff Devils on Saturday, winning 3-2, with penalty shots needed to separate the teams.
Guillaume Doucet and Lou Dickenson exchanged goals for either team in the second then Joey Martin and John Dolan did the same in the third period.
But Curtis Leinweber scored the all-important penalty shot as the league leaders were humbled on Tayside.
Cardiff then travelled to Glasgow on Saturday to first foot Braehead Clan in the New Year, but their weekend ended in disappointment as they went down 3-1 to the Glasgow side.
Scott Aarssen and Leavitt put Clan 2-0 ahead, but Joey Martin looked to set up a grandstand finale with a late goal to pull one back.
However, Stefan Meyer clinched the points with an empty net goal to make it three wins out of four for the Clan over the festive period.
Belfast Giants 1 Braehead Clan 4
Belfast Giants 5 Dundee Stars 2
Braehead Clan 2 Dundee Stars 1 (OT)
Edinburgh Capitals 2 Fife Flyers 3
Cardiff Devils 2 Dundee Stars 3 (SO)
Fife Flyers 5 Braehead Clan 2
Nottingham Panthers 8 Edinburgh Capitals 2
Braehead Clan 3 Cardiff Devils 1
Dundee Stars 3 Fife Flyers 4 (SO)
Edinburgh Capitals 4 Sheffield Steelers 3 (SO)