Evan Mosey led the charge – and his Cardiff Devils team-mates responded in winning style.
Mosey’s spark plug style performance against Coventry Blaze left the visitors down and out after 20 minutes at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay.
“Evan came to play, spurred the guys on and he’s a vocal leader,” said Devils coach Andrew Lord.
“He was physical and his fight with Alex Nikiforuk was nice as well. Evan played a leading role in firing everybody up around our building.”
Devils stormed top of Elite League thanks to their 6-2 win against Blaze, having virtually killed the game off during a first period which saw Lord’s men lead 5-1.
“That first period was us, awesome,” said Lord. “It was fun to be part of and I am proud of the guys. Our intensity and relentlessness was there and we finished more checks than we have for a while.
“Everybody came to the party on that and we separated man from puck often.
“The guys played to our strategy and game plan perfectly. That made for a great period and just about put the game out of reach.
“We almost scored a sixth goal. That was close and it looked as though it may have counted, but it was a tough call.
“The guys had a huge amount of possession in the second period, but we did get a little careless midway through. There were a couple of penalties and we took our foot off the gas a little.
“We came out better in the third and saw out the win. That first period, though, was one heck of a start. Let’s ensure we are positive about that.”
Matthew Myers had the puck in the net early in the second when it flew in off a skate. The referees studied video replays of the moment for some time before ruling out the effort because they felt there may have been a kicking motion.
That was, though, a close call and might have gone either way.
Now Devils have back-to-back fixtures against Guildford Flames, away on Sunday with the return at Cardiff’s Viola Arena on New Year’s Day.
“Flames pose a tough test,” says Lord. “They are one of or the fastest team in Elite League and play up tempo, aggressive hockey in all situations from powerplay to 5v5 and penalty kill.
“We know what makes us good. Our job is to focus and go back at it.”
Belfast Giants will regain top spot in Elite League if they beat Milton Keynes Lightning at home this evening (Friday).
Cardiff Devils are current leaders and the two teams are on level games.
Giants can’t afford any slip-ups as they embark on the first of three home games in a row. They gave their fans a Christmas gift by announcing the signing of Chris Higgins on Christmas Day.
“Chris Higgins was at the top of my list to get back here in Belfast,” said Belfast coach Adam Keefe.
“He has always been the type of player who creates offence all over the ice and makes his line-mates better.”
Keefe then compared Keefe to Russian former NHL centreman Pavel Datsyuk – nicknamed the ‘Magic Man’, saying: “Chris has unfinished business in Belfast. He’s fit, ready to go I know fans will be excited to see the ‘Belfast Datsyuk’ in action once again.”
Sunday 30 v Guildford Flames (away, 6pm)
Tuesday 1 v Guildford Flames (home, 4pm)
Saturday 5 v Manchester Storm (home, 7pm)
Sunday 6 v Fife Flyers (away, 6.30pm)
Saturday 12 v Glasgow Clan (away, 7pm)
Sunday 13 v Nottingham Panthers (home, 6pm)
Saturday 19 v Belfast Giants (home, 7pm)
Sunday 20 v Belfast Giants (home, 4pm)
ELITE ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE 2018/19
|Milton Keynes Lightning||31||10||19||2||22||.355||75||110||602||0-2|