Ice hockey: Coach Ryan Finnerty praises Braehead Clan's resilience

By Craig AndersonFor BBC Sport Scotland
Braehead's Cody Carlsson tries to put the block on Belfast's Chris Higgins in Saturday's game
Braehead's Cody Carlsson tries to put the block on Belfast's Chris Higgins in Saturday's game

Braehead Clan head coach Ryan Finnerty praised his team's character in beating Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday, after Saturday's "embarrassing" defeat in Belfast.

The Clan's three-game weekend ended on a high with a 5-2 win at Murrayfield, after losses to Sheffield Steelers and the Giants previously.

And he has urged his team to take the confidence from Sunday's result and enjoy it before they prepare for their next games against Fife Flyers next week.

"The guys showed some real character (against Edinburgh) in how we played and we found a purpose in our play," Finnerty said.

"Looking back on Friday, we played well and had every chance to win. They're a quality hockey team and have been champions the last couple of years for a reason.

"We made one mistake and they capitalised. I thought we played well enough to win, while Saturday was embarrassing from everyone.

"The biggest thing we can take from this is confidence and that's something you can't teach. You can sense some relief and it's important to enjoy it before we go back to work again."

Clan began the weekend by losing to Sheffield Steelers when they deserved to take something from it.

Although Scott Pitt slammed home the opening goal midway through the second period, the visitors prevailed.

Andreas Valdix's well-struck shot equalised shortly after with Jesse Schultz sending the Steelers fans home happy with his winning goal late in the third session.

Braehead travelled to Belfast Giants on Saturday and if Friday's performance was an indicator of how well you could play and be beaten, then this was the polar opposite.

They were well beaten 5-1 by the side from Northern Ireland and were two behind by the end of the first as Blair Riley and Chris Higgins each found the net.

Matt Beca scored what proved to be Clan's consolation on the night, with Belfast surging ahead to take the points through Mike Forney, Mark Garside and Higgins with his second.

Finnerty's side returned to Scotland where Edinburgh Capitals waited to host them - a team that had beaten the Glasgow men twice already this campaign.

Clan finally delivered in a 5-2 win at Murrayfield with Matt Haywood, Beca and Jay Rosehill all scoring in the first session.

Zach Sullivan and Corey Cowick strengthened Clan's position in the second period, but Caps hit back through Garrett Milan and Jared Staal to reduce the arrears, but it wasn't enough in the end.

Flyers take off

Fife Flyers are another team whose campaign has been far from ideal, although not as disappointing as Braehead Clan's, but they turned it around brilliantly.

Two wins and two shutouts saw them pick up maximum points against Manchester Storm and Coventry Blaze, with netminder Shane Owen the star of the show after blanking them both.

Storm came to Kirkcaldy on Saturday and left with a 7-0 hammering as Flyers got it right on the night with an excellent display.

Two from Ryan Dingle and Justin Fox's first had them three up by the first break, with Phil Paquet, Shayne Stockton, Russ Moyer and another from Fox securing an excellent.

They travelled to Coventry Blaze on Sunday on the back of that result and were able to keep Danny Stewart's side out again, with Paquet's goal five minutes in proving decisive in the end.

And with the strong rumours that former defenceman Kyle Haines is set to re-join them following a short spell in France, fans of Todd Dutiaume's side could be very happy going into next weekend.

Poor weekend for Dundee

Dundee Stars had two tricky league encounters to take care of and they began at Nottingham Panthers on Saturday, but were edged out in a 2-1 contest.

Two goals from Jeff Dimmen at the start and the end of the second period put Panthers in front and despite Justin Faryna pulling one back for Stars in the third, the home side held out for the win.

They ended the weekend without a point as Cardiff Devils beat them 4-2 at home on Sunday to end things on a low note.

Ben Edmonds' opener for Stars was cancelled out by Andrew Hotham, before Chris Mulligan and Mark Richardson put Cardiff in front.

Vinny Scarsella pulled one back for the home side, but Jake Morrissette's late marker secured the points for the Welsh side.

Weekend results


Elite League:

Braehead Clan 1-2 Sheffield Steelers


Elite League

Fife Flyers 7-0 Manchester Storm

Nottingham Panthers 2-1 Dundee Stars

Challenge Cup Group A

Belfast Giants 5-1 Braehead Clan


Elite League

Coventry Blaze 0-1 Fife Flyers

Dundee Stars 2-4 Cardiff Devils

Edinburgh Capitals 2-5 Braehead Clan