Cardiff Devils step up their bid to qualify for a fifth successive Elite League Challenge Cup final when they play Glasgow Clan at home on Friday (7.30pm).
Captain Jake Morissette and his Devils are 4-3 ahead against Clan after the first leg in Scotland and a big attendance is expected for what will be a tight deciding match at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay.
Holders Belfast Giants and Nottingham Panthers, who last won this trophy in 2016, are already into the semi-finals and Devils intend to join them.
A fight, a goal and an assist for @MarkLoui5 when the Clan last came to Cardiff 😈
Get your ticket now for Friday's massive Challenge Cup Q/F second leg at @TheViolaArena
— Cardiff Devils (@cardiffdevils) December 10, 2018
Cardiff lifted the Challenge Cup in 2014, beating Sheffield Steelers 2-1 in the final, and 2016 when they won 3-2 against Steelers at Ice Arena Wales.
They were also runners-up in 2016, when Panthers were cup winners, and last season when Giants spoiled the party in Cardiff Bay.
Now Devils will be out for victory in what will be a fiercely contested home clash with Clan at the newly renamed Viola Arena, which was the venue for World title cage fighting last weekend.
Welshman Jack Shore, from Abertillery, won the Cage Warriors’ World bantamweight title – and he’s backing Devils to make progress in the cup.
Shore has adopted the Viola Arena as his favourite venue and will be fighting again in Cardiff Bay at Cage Warriors 104 on Saturday, April 27.
Having watched two Cardiff Devils matches, Shore has a team shirt and is an ardent fan of a sport he says has speed, passion, intensity and atmosphere – in many ways the same as cage fighting.
Devils are expected to be at full strength on Friday now that Great Britain D-man Mark Richardson has returned to fitness and new signing Drew Sheistel is progressing towards full match conditioning after a number of months out of action.
Stephen Dixon, Charles Linglet, Joey Martin and Matt Pope scored for Devils in their 4-3 win during the first leg in Glasgow and Devils have a major chance of progressing to the semi-finals again.
The Challenge Cup final will be played at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay on Sunday, March 10.
Steelers and Guildford Flames played out a 4-4 draw in the first leg of their quarter-final after Robert Dowd netted a late goal to earn the tie.
Giants and Panthers are already into the last four. Belfast won the first leg against Dundee Stars away 8-0 and defeated the Scottish team 4-2 in the return (12-2 on aggregate), while Panthers won 6-1 in Manchester and then lost 4-2 at home against Storm.
That earned Nottingham an 8-5 aggregate win and they go into the quarter-finals as third seeds for now, but will be bumped up a place in Cardiff fail to get past Glasgow.
Devils remaining fixtures in December:
Friday 14 v Glasgow Clan (home, 7.30pm, Challenge Cup quarter-final, second leg)
Saturday 15 v Manchester Storm (away, 7pm)
Thursday 20 v MK Lightning (away, 7.30pm)
Saturday 22 v Dundee Stars (home, 7pm)
Sunday 23 v Guildford Flames (away, 6pm)
Wednesday 26 v Coventry Blaze (away, 6pm)
Thursday 27 v Coventry Blaze (home, 7pm)
Sunday 30 v Guildford Flames (away, 6pm)