Cardiff Devils are looking to start building momentum in Scotland this weekend.
They take on Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars away after a wobbly start to the new ice hockey season and coach Andrew Lord says: “We have two extremely tough games in Scotland.
“Our win against Coventry will give us a shot of confidence, a little mojo, but we still have to clean a few things up and make sure we’re better.
“We’ll have to be this weekend to be successful against two really dangerous teams.”
Devils can now put Champions League and Challenge Cup group fixtures out of their minds and focus on Elite League success.
Lord’s men are out of the CHL despite winning three of their six matches, while they have qualified for the cup quarter-finals following a penalty shoot-out victory against Blaze.
Devils will again be without suspended Sam Jardine in Fife because he is serving the final game of his two-match suspension and Lord will have to rest one other import. Forward Matt Pope sat out the midweek win.
Lord tweaked his defensive pairings with Gleason Fournier and Sean McMonagle linking up, while British D-men Mark Richardson and Josh Batch teamed up.
The third pair, in the main, were Mark Louis and Bryce Reddick.
“We have looked are that Fournier/McMonagle pairing at times,” said Lord. “Fournier and Richie are excellent together, but we thought about spreading out a few things.
“It wasn’t a straight six and Fourns was double back a fair bit.
“It was tough missing Sam Jardine, but Batch had one practice and was in there. Great guy, great utility player.”
Devils are likely to play Belfast Giants in the Challenge Cup last eight – other teams have first pick of opponents and are unlikely to select either – but they have avoided a play-off.
That battle for the last eight place will surely feature Coventry Blaze against Manchester Storm or Nottingham Panthers.
Lord was happy with the 5-4 win against Blaze at Cardiff’s Viola Arena, after sudden death overtime and penalties, while he was far from satisfied with the team performance.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” he said after Devils hit back from three goals down. “That’s why you get involved in team sport.
“It’s been a wild ride for the first couple of months this season. We’ve learned a ton of lessons. This is a big weekend.”
The next home fixture for Devils is against Sheffield Steelers on Saturday, November 9 (7pm).
Match stats v Blaze:
Scorers, Devils: Joey Haddad 1+1, Mike McNamee 1+0, Bryce Reddick 1+0, Stephen Dixon 1+0, Sean McMonagle, 0+2, Masi Marjamaki 0+2, Sean Bentivoglio 0+1, Matias Sointu 0+2
Blaze: Evan Bloodoff 1+0, Andrew Johnston 1+2, Matt Pohlkamp 1+0, Luke Ferrara 1+0, John Hache 0+1, John Curran 0+1, David Clements 0+1, Drew Schiestel 0+2
Period scores (Devils first); 0-2; 2-1 (2-3); 2-1 (4-4); 0-0 (4-4); 1-0 (5-4)
Shots on goal: Devils (on Jamie Phillips) 42, Blaze (on Ben Bowns) 23
Penalties in minutes: Devils 4+2+0=6; Blaze 8+6+4=18
Referees: Matt Rose, Dean Smith
Devils team v Blaze:
Goalies: Ben Bowns (back-up Thomas Murdy)
First line: Gleason Fournier, Sean McMonagle, Sean Bentivoglio, Joey Martin, Blair Riley
Second line: Josh Batch, Mark Richardson, Charles Linglet, Mike McNamee, Masi Marjamaki
Third line: Mark Louis, Bryce Reddick, Toms Rutkis, Matthew Myers, Sam Duggan
Fourth line: Joey Haddad, Stephen Dixon, Matias Sointu
Dundee Stars and Glasgow Clan have agreed the dates with the Elite League for their Challenge Cup last eight games.
Friday, November 22: Dundee Stars v Glasgow Clan (Dundee Ice Arena)
Wednesday, December 11: Glasgow Clan v Dundee Stars (Intu Braehead Arena)
Dundee Stars finished the Challenge Cup with the best overall record of any team and had first choice of who to face in the quarter-finals.
In requesting to make their pick before the conclusion of the Group Stage, Stars agreed to give up their right to playing the second leg at home.
Watch both Devils games live this weekend:
Saturday – CLICK HERE FOR THE FIFE FLYERS LIVE STREAM
|1 Dundee Stars||6||10||5||0||1||0||25||16||0.83|
|2 Glasgow Clan||6||6||2||1||3||0||15||25||0.50|
|3 Belfast Giants||6||5||2||0||3||1||23||19||0.42|
|4 Fife Flyers||6||4||2||0||4||0||16||19||0.33|
|1 Guildford Flames||7||11||3||2||1||1||26||21||0.79|
|2 Cardiff Devils||8||9||2||2||3||1||25||25||0.56|
|3 Coventry Blaze||7||6||2||0||3||2||21||26||0.43|
|1 Sheffield Steelers||8||10||4||1||3||0||31||27||0.63|
|2 Manchester Storm||6||6||2||1||3||0||19||20||0.50|
|3 Nottingham Panthers||6||6||2||0||2||2||18||21||0.50|