Cardiff Fire go into the new year intent on winning a National Ice Hockey league title for the second successive season.
Head coach Mark Cuddihy and his Fire team have a 100 per cent record this season after nine fixtures, having lifted the Division Two West title in 2015-16.
They include a number of former Devils players including Jason Stone, Phil Manny, Sam Smith and goaltender Joe Myers on their roster.
Forward Smith has played in Fire’s last two fixtures, having returned to Wales after playing for Dubai Mighty Camels.
He was part of the Devils’ 2010-11 World record breaking team who secured 21 successive victories. Smith, who played alongside Stuart MacRae and Tyler Michel, contributed 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists).
Slovakian forward Robert Sedlak and Tamas Elias, who was born in Hungary, are among other key players in the Fire line-up,
Fire earned their ninth consecutive win this season when they defeated Bristol Pitbulls 4-2 at their temporary home rink in Oxford.
The Elias/Jackson Price/Josh Haslam lined was outstanding against Pitbulls. Elias opened the scoring with an assist going to Jackson Price, while Price made it 2-0 with assists from Haslam and Elias.
Bristol’s Olly Shone pulled one back and Fire led 2-1 after the first period.
A poor second period performance from Fire, when they ran into a lot of penalty trouble, saw the home team level at 2-2. Former Cardiff NIHL player Jamie Newton scored.
That was still the score going into the final period and Fire had to dig deep if they were going to earn both points.
Their players responded and Jordan Powell netted on the first shift before Sedlak scored Fire’s fourth goal on a powerplay with 57 minutes gone.
That victory allowed Fire to end the first half of their season with a perfect nine wins from nine matches.
Cardiff Fire play all of their matches at Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay, the rink which is also home to Elite League leaders Cardiff Devils.
2016-17 results and fixtures
v Swindon Wildcats (home) won 3-1
v Basingstoke Buffalo (away) won 6-3
v Slough Jets (home) 6-2
v London Haringey Racers (away) won 4-0
v Wightlink Raiders (home) won 3-2
Bristol Pitbulls (away) won 4-2
v Basingstoke Buffalo (home) won 9-1
v Bristol Pitbulls (home) won 5-1
v Bristol Pitbulls (away) won 4-2
Sunday 8 v Basingstoke Buffalo (home, 6pm)
Saturday 21 London Haringey Racers (home, 6.30pm)
Sunday 22 v Swindon Wildcats (away)
Saturday 11 v Wightlink Raiders (home 6.30pm)
Sunday 19 v Swindon Wildcats (home, 6pm)
Sunday 26 v Bristol Pitbulls (home, 6pm)
Saturday 4 v Wightlink Raiders (home, 6.30pm)
Sunday 5 v Basingstoke Buffalo (away)
Saturday 25 v Swindon Wildcats (away)
To be arranged v Slough Jets (away)
Cardiff Fire roster:
Goaltenders: Luke Takel, Joe Myers, James Whiting.
Defence: Ross Wilkinson, Phil Manny, Andrew Davies, Elis Sheppard, Dan Self, Jason Stone, Joe Morris, Chris Hart.
Forward: Sam Bryant, Robert Sedlak, Kieron Latchford, Jackson Price, Jackson Price, David Sadler, David Christian, Josh Haslam, Niall Shanahan, Ricky Deacon, Tim Burrows, Jon Nash, Sam Smith, Jordon Baber, Tamas Elias, Jordan Powell, Alan Armour, Steve Newton.