The Cardiff Devils produced a dominant display on Saturday night to bounce back from their dismal home defeat to Manchester Storm a week ago. The visitors to International Arena Wales on the weekend were the Braehead Clan. It seems they never really got going in the game and right from the puck being dropped the Devils adopted a very aggressive forechecking game. This pinned the Clan in their defensive zone for extended periods of the game. The home fans didn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough with Josh Batch opening the scoring with just over 3 minutes of the game gone.
The almost capacity crowd at International Arena Wales were in fine voice and the Devils players didn’t disappoint. Perhaps due to the Devils dominance or perhaps just sheer frustration but Braehead number 28, Jacob Doty decided to drop the gloves with big defenceman Mark Louis who duly obliged. After a little scuffle where only a couple of punches were thrown, both players were given 5-minute fighting penalties.
If this tactic was supposed to try to intimidate the Devils then, unfortunately, it didn’t work and the Clan were unable to come up with a way of preventing the Devils forwards from applying constant pressure. Sean Bentivoglio doubled the Devils lead before the end of the first period and the score remained 2-0 to the Devils at the first break.
The second period played out much the same as the first with the Devils enjoying a lot of possession of the puck. Drew Paris had received a 2-minute penalty for cross-checking and as the penalty ran out, he managed to escape from the penalty box and emerge unnoticed on the blue line. Captain Jake Morrisette picked him out with a raking pass which he duly controlled and sent across the goal for Mark Richardson to slot home. The second period ended with the score line 3-0 to the home side.
With the game pretty much won, and the Braehead Clan unable to open the Devils defence. 2 more goals were quickly added by Richardson and Ulmer at the start of the third period and this killed the game off. With netminder Ben Bowns able to take everything that the Clan threw at him, he was able to get his second shutout of the week.
Not surprisingly man of the match went to Devils defenceman Mark Richardson, who will be celebrating his Testimonial year with a game on October 24th at International Arena Wales.
The Devils will be back in Champions League action on Tuesday when they host Swedish side Vaxjo Lakers.
Elsewhere, the Cardiff Fire National Ice Hockey League 1 side endured another difficult weekend on their learning curve in this division. After going down 13-1 in Peterborough on Saturday night, they went down 10-0 on Sunday night at Ice Arena Wales. There were a few dubious calls by the officials but the Fire were well beaten. With players such as Nicky Chinn currently unavailable the Fire looked slightly short benched compared to their opposition. They will, as the season progresses get better I am sure. The news that Devils forward Luke Piggott has now signed a contract allowing him to turn out for the Fire (when his Devils commitments allow) is great for the team. However, even his presence last night wasn’t enough to stop the Phantoms returning to Peterborough with all the points.
Cardiff Fires next fixture is away to Swindon Wildcats on the 7th October when they will come up against former Devil Chris ‘CJ’ Jones. They then return to International Arena Wales on the 8th October to face Bracknell Bees.