Cardiff Devils had mixed fortunes over their first weekend of domestic ice hockey action.
Player-coach Andrew Lord and his players earned a 5-2 home win against Milton Keynes Lightning before crashing 8-4 against Guildford Flames away.
Thankfully, both were Challenge Cup fixtures and Devils have not suffered major damage by losing against Flames.
There is plenty of time to ensure there is no long-term suffering for the Welsh club following that ‘embarrassing’ defeat.
Cardiff’s official club match report said: “Devils were brought crashing back down to earth with an embarrassing 8-4 defeat against Guildford.”
Now Lord’s men turn to the start of their Elite League campaign when they play Sheffield Steelers away on Saturday (7pm) and then Nottingham Panthers at Ice Arena Wales the next evening (6pm).
Devils are reigning champions and could scarcely face more difficult tests to open their bid to retain the title.
Cardiff raised their new championship banners to the roof at the IAW in Cardiff Bay before skating to their first domestic victory of the new season.
Coach Andrew Lord and his Devils won the Elite League title, Challenge Cup and Erhardt Conference last season. The banners now hang above the ice alongside many others marking trophy successes over the last 30 years.
Longest-serving Devil Mark Richardson, who is starting his 11th season with the club, played the 700th match of the Elite League era.
Richardson has a testimonial match on Tuesday, October 24 to celebrate his career in Wales.
“Richy is only 30 years of age and in my opinion, playing the best hockey of his career,” said club general manager Todd Kelman.”We expect Richy to be around for a long, long time.”
Lord described the Ice Arena Wales atmosphere as ‘amazing’ when Cardiff Devils lifted their latest championship banners.
“Everybody was hyped up after the banners were raised,” he said. “The atmosphere was amazing.
“It was remarkable how loud it was in our building before and after the ceremony.
“Having Denny Kearney, Guillaume Doucet and Carl Hudson here with Lightning’s cool as well. They all played their part in Devils’ journey over the last few years.
“The building was rocking and it was great to see those banners go up. Now our aim is to have a couple more over this season.”
Devils defeated Lightning 5-2, winning all three periods. An empty net goal completed their victory.
Match stats: Devils v Lightning.
Devils: Paul Crowder 1+0, Gleason Fournier 1+0, Patrick Asselin 1+1, Andrew Hotham 1+0, Matt Pope 1+0, Mark Richardson 0+1, Matthew Myers 0+1, Joey Haddad 0+1, Sean Bentivoglio 0+2, Joey Martin 0+1.
Lightning: Christian Isackson 1+0, Paul Phillips 1+0, B Foster 0+1, A Tait 0+1, A Forbes 0+1
Period scores (Devils first): 2-1; 2-1 (4-2); 1-0 (5-2).
Shots on goal: Devils (on Wiikman) 12+13+13=37; Lightning (on Bowns) 13+7+7=27.
Penalties in minutes: Devils 17, Lightning 31.
Powerplays: Devils 1/8; Lightning 1/6.
Referees: Mike Hicks and Matt Rose.
Stars of the game: Devil, Patrick Asselin; Lightning, Carl Hudson.
Match stats: Flames v Devils
Flames: Ian Watters 3+0, Carl Ackered 1+2, John Dunbar 1+1, Rhett Rachinski 1+1, Tomas Nechala 1+0, David Karlsson 1+1, Ben Davies 0+2, Brennan Yadlowski 0+1, Kruise Reddick 0+2, Jesse Craige 0+2, Ben Campbell 0+1, Kevin Phillips 0+1, Mikhael Lidhammer 0+1.
Devils: Joey Martin 1+0, Drew Paris 2+0, Gleason Fournier 1+0, Joey Haddad 0+1, Patrick Asselin 0+1, Sean Bentivoglio 0+1.
Period scores (Flames first): 2-1; 2-2 (4-3); 4-1 (8-4).
Penalties in minutes: Flames 4+4+7=15; Devils 4+6+13=23.
Powerplays: Flames 2/7; Devils 1/5.
Shots on goal: Flames (on Murdy)16+13+11=40; Devils (on Wiikman) 12+15+11=38.
Referee: Jan Smejkal.
Ticket information for Devils’ home matches is available online via the Cardiff Devils official website or by phoning 0800 0842 666. They can also be purchased in person from the main reception at Ice Arena Wales.