Mike Hedden. Pic: Helen Brabon.

Cardiff Devils Aim Sunday Slovak Thriller Repeat

Mike Hedden, Joey Martin and Layne Ulmer scored powerplay goals for Cardiff Devils in a pre-season thriller against HK Poprad at Ice Arena Wales.

Devils stormed into a three-goal lead and then held off a strong Poprad fightback to earn a 3-2 win. 

The teams clash again in Cardiff Bay this evening and the Slovakian visitors will be fired up for revenge.

Coach Andrew Lord and his Devils are less than a fortnight away from their opening Champions League match and there was a vast improvement from their performance in a 6-3 home defeat against Nottingham Panthers a week ago.

Poprad set the pace early on, creating the better chances during the opening 10 minutes before Devils settled into the speed of the game. 

Cardiff Devils stand firm in the face of Poprad pressure. Pic: Helen Brabon.

After a fast-paced, scoreless opening period Devils powerplay units went to work, scoring twice in just over a minute to open the second period.

Hedden tipped in a shot from Mark Richardson to make it 1-0 at 21 minutes 41 seconds and the second game 72 seconds later and was a near mirror-image of the first goal.

Martin tipped a Gleason Fournier shot past Poprad’s netminder to put the Devils 2-0 ahead. 

The teams traded powerplay opportunities for the rest of the period with each side getting four PP chances including a 5v3 for Poprad which Devils were able to kill off.

The third period saw the Devils open up their lead with another powerplay goal after a great transition at centre ice that finished with Jake Morissette and Martin setting up Ulmer, who buried the puck into the Poprad goal make it 3-0 lead at 42-29.

Poprad pulled one back when Marek Zagrapan finally beat beat Ben Bowns at 44-46 to give the Slovaks new hope and they continued to press, but Bowns was immense for Devils and turned aside everything they threw at him.

Goalie Ben Bowns was in outstanding form for Cardiff Devils. Pic: Helen Brabon.

David Bondra pulled Poprad within one when he scored on the powerplay at 56-30 to make it 3-2.  

The final three minutes saw Poprad pile on the pressure, eventually pulling their goalie for the extra skater, but Devils blocked every shot and held on for the win.

The two sides clash again on Sunday evening in what should be another intense battle between two fast-skating, fiercely competitive teams.

Tickets for Sunday’s are available ONLINE HERE, call 0800 0842 666 or book in person at the Arena reception right up until face-off either day.

Pre-season tickets, including those for the Poprad matches, are £2 cheaper than the normal ticket prices for 2018-19.

Cardiff Devils early fixtures and results list, including pre-season matches and Champions League group fixtures.


Saturday 11: Nottingham Panthers 5, Cardiff Devils 5

Sunday 12: Cardiff Devils 3, Nottingham Panthers 6 (Panthers won 11-8 on aggregate)

Saturday 18: Cardiff Devils 3, HK Poprad 2

Sunday 19: Cardiff Devils v HK Poprad (6pm, pre-season)

Saturday 25: Cardiff Devils v Coventry Blaze (7pm, pre-season)

Sunday 26: Coventry Blaze v Cardiff Devils (5.15pm, pre-season)

Thursday 30: Cardiff Devils v Red Bull Salzburg (7.30pm, Champions League)

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