HULL Stingrays could be forgiven somewhat if they refused to take part in shoot-outs for a while.
Three times in the last four games Sylvain Cloutier’s team have been forced to battle for an extra point in the lottery that is penalty shots. Three times they have come up short.
It happened to them twice on a frustrating weekend for the East Yorkshire club, first going down 6-5 in the Challenge Cup at Coventry Blaze before losing out in the same way 5-4 at home to Gardiner Conference rivals Braehead Clan at home.
It followed last weekend’s 4-3 defeat on a shoot-out at Edinburgh Capitals.
On both occasions, the Stingrays gave up leads to leave themselves at the mercy of a shoot-out, leaving Cloutier frustrated at not seeing his teams pick up two points on at least one occasion.
“That is three games in a row where we have given up a lead, but have taken a point in a shoot-out,” said Cloutier on Sunday night.
“I am disappointed we did not get the two points but I was proud with the way we battled back in the third period.
“We need to start finding a way to win those games. We are better than that.”
Last night would have been particularly frustrating for Hull having clawed their way back from 3-0 down against a Braehead side tipped by most people to win the northern conference.
All three goals came in the second period, with British forward Robert Farmer grabbing two before Bobby Chaumont added a third at 36.19 – just 14 seconds after Farmer’s second.
But, within eight minutes of the restart, the home team were ahead thanks to a stunning fightback, started by Jereme Tendler’s sixth of the season at 40.49.
Ryan Hand made it a one-goal game shortly after before captain Kurtis Dulle levelled at 45.44. Janis Ozolins grabbed his fifth of the campaign at 47.18, but the home side’s lead lasted just six minutes, playmaker Jade Galbraith equalising. That’s how it stayed before a shoot-out saw Ozolins and Dominc Osman denied, while the Clan’s Jordan Krestanovich and Ash Goldie found a way past netminder Ben Bowns to seal the extra point.
On Saturday, Hull again came from behind, this time after going 2-0 down against an injury-hit Coventry team who had gone ahead through two Gerome Giudice efforts.
But a stunning second period handed the visitors the initiative in a thrilling cup tie, with Osman (2), Tendler, Jason Silverthorn and Ozolins all scoring on Peter Hirsch. But the crucial strike came at the other end less than a minute after Ozolins had made it 5-2 to Hull, Giudice’s hat-trick goal giving the home side renewed hope going into the third.
They were able to capitalise on their fresh momentum and took the game into overtime and then a shoot-out thanks to strikes from Brad Leeb and Mike Schutte. Ozolins scored first for Hull in the shoot-out but the only other successes came at the other end with, not surprisingly, Giudice and then Leeb scoring past Bowns.
Sunday – Elite League: Hull Stingrays 4 Braehead Clan 5 (SO), Sheffield Steelers 3 Coventry Blaze 4.
Elite League/Challenge Cup Group A: Fife Flyers 1 Belfast Giants 3.
Challenge Cup, Group A: Edinburgh Capitals 3 Dundee Stars 5.
Saturday, Elite League: Cardiff Devils 4 Edinburgh Capitals 1, Sheffield Steelers 1 Nottingham Panthers 2 (SO).
Challenge Cup, Group A: Belfast Giants 3 Braehead Clan 2. Group B: Coventry Blaze 6 Hull Stingrays 5 (SO).