Cardiff Devils 6, Sheffield Steelers 0
Goalie Ben Bowns and his D-Corps shut the door on Sheffield Steelers in Cardiff Bay.
Cardiff Devils earned their second Elite League win of the weekend – and Bowns kept a shut-out in both.
Leaders Devils followed their 2-0 win at Coventry on Saturday by hitting Steelers for six at the Viola Arena.
Sheffield have had a miserable tine against Cardiff this season. The teams have played each other five times and Devils have won the lot, scoring 29 goals and conceding eight.
— Steve King (@Tacosteve10) March 3, 2019
Steelers have quality players and a strong team, but the greater depth and power of Devils left them gasping at times.
“It was pretty solid all round,” said Devils coach Andrew Lord. “The work ethic was there, the compete was evident and our buy-in was there for the most part.
“Our penalty kill was excellent at Coventry and we did real well again against Steelers.
— EIHL (@officialEIHL) March 3, 2019
“Our third period was a little cruise control, but I guess I’ll bite my tongue at this time of the season.
“It’s fun right now and a lot of guys coming to the party.”
Lord has played a master stroke in putting captain Jake Morissette, a calm, composed and highly effective forward, alongside big men Josh Batch and Matthew Myers.
Cardiff-Born Myers is producing some of the best hockey of his life this season – and that’s really saying something after the hugely successful career he has had – and he scored twice against Steelers.
The visitors seemed to back off against the powerful cut and thrust of that fourth line and simply could not deal with their slick work going forward.
Batch has renewed confidence after pushing forward onto offense – and is also putting in some hugely effective shifts in defence, 5v5 and on the penalty kill.
— Evan Mosey (@evan_mosey) March 3, 2019
Morissette’s leadership, awareness and ability is helping to bring the best out of his line-mates.
James Livingston, a hugely effective and influential player, continued his good form, forechecking and battling for everything, but it seems wrong to pick out individuals.
There is such a delicious balance, team character and spirit to this Devils team. I totally understand why Steelers coach Tom Barrasso insists they are ‘the best team in Britain.’
Devils first goal was an absolute cracker when Myers kept possession behind the Steelers net, skated out in front and flipped a backhand shot into the net.
Goalie Jackson Whistle could scarcely have expected a shot of that quality on the backhand and was left helpless.
That goal came after 13 minutes 55 seconds and was the only goal of the first period, while Cardiff netted four times in the second.
— Cardiff Devils (@cardiffdevils) March 3, 2019
Whistle was replaced by Brad Day after being beaten by a shot which looped high into the air and dropped behind him into the net.
It was an impressive, clinical display by Devils and Bowns will one delighted with his fifth shutout of the season.
Closest rivals Belfast Giants won 5-2 against Manchester Storm and are two points behind Cardiff having played a game more.
Devils have also qualified for next season’s Champions League. Belfast are in the top European competition because of their Continental Cup exploits and Devils are in because they cannot finish lower than second – and only the Giants have any chance of catching them.
If Glasgow Clan had failed to win at Guildford then Devils’ place would have been assured, but ex-Cardiff sniper Guillaume Doucet scored for the Scottish team in a 1-0 win against Flames.
Scorers, Devils: Matthew Myers 2+0,Layne Ulmer 1+0, Sean Bentivoglio 1+1, Mike Hedden 1+2, Evan Mosey 1+1, Josh Batch 0+1, Mark Louis 0+1, Stephen Dixon, Charles Linglet 0+1, Mark Richardson 0+1,
Period scores (Devils first): 1-0; 4-0 (5-1); 1-0 (6-0).
Shots on goal: Devils (on Whistle/Day) 15+11+12=38; Steelers (on Bowns) 6+9+9=24.
Penalties in minutes: Devils 2+4+6=12; Steelers 6+2+4=12.
Special teams: Devils PK 6/6, PP 2/5; Steelers PK 3/5, PP 0/6.
Men of the match: Devils, Ben Bowns; Steelers, Tanner Eberle.
Referees: Dean Smith and Andrew Dalton.
remaining 9 Elite League fixtures
Four home, five away
Thursday 7 v Fife Flyers (away, 7.30pm)
Friday 8 v Guildford Flames (home, 7.30pm)
Saturday 16 v Sheffield Steelers (away, 7pm)
Sunday 17 v Glasgow Clan (home, 6pm)
Wednesday 20 v Glasgow Clan (away, 7.30pm)
Saturday 23 v Manchester Storm (home, 7pm)
Sunday 24 v Dundee Stars (away, 5pm)
Saturday 30 v MK Lightning (home, 7pm)
Sunday 31 v Coventry Blaze (away, 5.15pm)
8 fixtures left, six home, two away
Friday 8 v Glasgow Clan (home, 7pm)
Friday 15 v Coventry Blaze (home, 7pm)
Friday 15 v Coventry Blaze (home, 7pm)
Friday 22 v Manchester Storm (away, 7pm)
Sunday 24 v Sheffield Steelers (home, 4pm)
Wednesday 27 v Coventry Blaze (away, 7.30pm)
Friday 29 v Fife Flyers (home, 7pm)
Saturday 30 v Dundee Stars (home, 7pm)