A loss of cool meant the Aberdeen Lynx were forced to fight back to net an important 9-5 Scottish Cup first leg win over Moray Typhoons in Elgin.
Despite a measured first period which saw the Lynx go ahead, their hard work was undone early in the second period when they lost four goals in just 10 minutes.
But a solid performance from Aberdeen’s powerplay line saw them make the most of any advantages to head back down the A96 with a four-goal buffer going into the second leg.
And it was last week’s hard work during training that made the difference for coach Owen Reynolds’ side.
He said: “Last Wednesday in training we spent a very large amount of time on powerplays, knowing fine they will draw penalties.
“We set out five very particular boys with a very particular job.”
And the training paid off with a strong performance by the Lynx powerplay line of Laing, Leyden, Malcolm, Hogan and Johnson ensuring the Aberdeen-side made the most of the manpower advantage on the cramped Elgin rink.
Reynolds added: “We needed to maintain our discipline, and in the first period we did that.
“In the second period we were in the box for really soft penalties, and that’s when the frustration boils over, we lose our heads and they get back in the game.
“After their fourth goal the gate broke and that effectively served as a very good time out for us to cool down and get our focus back.
“We got over the way the penalties are going and tried to get back to how we play.”
It took a while for both teams to settle into the game with the majority of the first period penalty-free with end-to-end hockey and neither side able to find an early goal.
But on the first powerplay opportunity, that extra work in training quickly paid off with Mark Laing and Jonathan Hogan taking just 26 seconds of the man advantage to set up Jordan LEYDEN to put the Lynx ahead.
And with the Typhoons losing a man less than 20 seconds into the second period, the Lynx powerplay line was again able to shine – again requiring just 26 seconds to grab a goal, this time through Christian JOHNSON.
But a number of potentially dangerous challenges on Lynx players in the beginning of the second period, seemingly missed by the officials– while softer challenges by the Aberdeen-side were quickly punished – gave the Typhoons the opportunity to net four goals in just eight minutes making it 4-2
The time required to repair the gate on the Lynx bench after the Typhoons’ fourth goal gave the Aberdeen players and opportunity to rest and re-focus.
And the revitalised Lynx were able to make the most of the powerplay to claw themselves back into the lead, scoring three quick goals courtesy of Mark LAING, Fraser MacEACHRAN and Iain MALCOLM to ensure they went into the second break 5-4 ahead.
The Aberdeen players increased their lead to 7-4 through LAING and a breakaway goal from MALCOLM, as well as holding a solid defensive line during a five-minute penalty kill.
A superb penalty shot by Andrew Murphy gave the Lynx a four-goal cushion going into the final five minutes.
And with just two minutes to go Typhoons’ John JACK grabbed a fifth for his side, which was quickly cancelled out by Christian JOHNSON’s second of the night, ensuring the Lynx go into next weekend’s home leg of the Scottish Cup with an important four-goal cushion.