Cardiff Fire players celebrate a goal. Pic: Oliver Hampson
Cardiff Fire ended their National League ice hockey season on a low note at Ice Arena Wales.
Head coach Mark Cuddihy and his Fire team were beaten 6-2 by Chelmsford Warriors in the Division Two play-off semi-finals.
Goals from Robert Sedlak and Tamas Elias gave Fire a 2-1 lead after the first period, but Warriors hit back to win and the their place in the final against Peterborough Islanders.
They defeated Bristol Pitbulls 10-5 over two legs, having won the first leg 4-1 and the second 6-4.
Division Two West champions Fire were unbeaten in 2016-17 until they lost against Peterborough in the League Cup final and that was followed by the play-off loss against Warriors.
Their semi-final was decided over one game because Chelmsford did not have ice time available at their rink.
Fire were without key players netminder Joe Myers, Sam Smith and Phil Manny, all former Devils players, while the semi-final clash with Chelmsford turned on two huge refereeing decisions.
They had two players thrown out on five plus game calls and Chelmsford scored three of their goals during those powerplays.
Luke Takel, in goal for Fire, produced some outstanding saves, but Warriors were able to gain the upper hand.
They arrived with only 10 skaters, but had English Premier League experience in their ranks and were able to take advantage on those crucial powerplays.
Fire won Division Two for a second successive season, but missed out on the trophy treble which had been their target.
Their play-off defeat means they won’t be promoted to Division One next season.
Cuddihy, though, is intent on keeping the team together and will go for a third successive Second Division title.
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