A dominant Aberdeen Lynx beat a sluggish Edinburgh Capitals 8-3 to give themselves a massive advantage for next weekend’s second leg.
The packed Aberdeen crowd were expecting a close physical match based on the two side’s previous encounters this season, with Edinburgh winning one and the second finishing level.
However, the combination of an aggressive fast-paced Lynx attack and a solid defence means the Aberdeen side will head to the central belt as favourites to progress.
Lynx captain Jordan LEYDEN opened the scoring in just 35 seconds of the first period thanks to a quick burst of speed which had the majority of the Linx arena on the feet.
Just three minutes later LEYDEN was able to make it 2-0 thanks to a well judged pass from head coach-player Barry Carnegie.
However, a last-minute tackle by Callum Smith, which brought down a Capitals player through on goal, resulted in a penalty shot being awarded to the visitors.
Lynx keeper Chalmers was unable to prevent Sean DONALDSON making it 2-1.
Edinburgh Capitals came close to pulling level 12 minutes into the second period with forward Paterson rattling the puck off Aberdeen’s crossbar.
Mark PATERSON did eventually find the net ensuring that the Lynx’s early advantaged was cancelled out by the end of the first period.
The Lynx were quick out of the blocks in the second period with Mark LAING taking just 15 seconds to put them back ahead.
Iain MALCOLM grabbed his first of the night just a couple of minutes later to extend the home sides lead.
A string of fouls, as well as Calum MacEachran being sent to the dressing room saw the Lynx reduced to 5 men on the ice for a stint in second period.
The Edinburgh side were able to capitalise on this advantage and bring themselves back into the game with Tyler PLEWS making the score 4-3.
Mark LAING was able to re-extend the home sides lead after Leyden and Smith were able to get the puck through to him for him to make it 5-3.
A brutal tackle on the Lynx’s Callum Smith later in the second period forced him off the ice injured, with the following scuffle on the ice resulting in Aberdeen’s Mark Laing and Edinburgh Capitals’ Tyler Plews sent to the penalty box.
The third period began with the Capitals probing the Lynx to find any signs of weakness, but strong defenders making crucial tackles and outstanding saves from keeper Craig Chalmers.
Michael Ireland came closest with a powerful shot hitting the post and a number of others sailing just wide or forcing Chalmers into quick reaction saves.
Jordan LEYDEN skating circles round their defence to complete his hat-trick made the frustration within the Edinburgh side boil to the surface.
A number of strong tackles from the Edinburgh defence wasn’t enough to put Aberdeen off their game and Iain MALCOLM was able to battle through and grab his second of the night to make it 7-3.
Jordan LEYDEN’S fantastic turn of speed allowed him to get clear and net his fourth of the night to bring the final score to 8-3.
The Lynx will be able to take masses of confidence from this well deserved win and travel to Edinburgh next weekend with a five-goal advantage.
With the Aberdeen Lynx Supporters Club taking a coach load of fans to provide the Lynx’s seventh man for next Sunday’s second leg, the Aberdeen side look to be in the perfect position to make this year’s semi-finals.
In the weekend’s other games the Kirkcaldy Kestrels were held to a 5-5 draw by Moray Typhoons, but the Kestrels will progress to the next round of the playoffs winning 13-9 on aggregate.
The Edinburgh Capitals recovered from Saturday night’s defeat at the hands of the Lynx to beat Dundee Tigers 2-1 and earn themselves a position in the Scottish Cup final where they will face the Paisley Pirates.