Coventry Blaze 0, Cardiff Devils 2
Cardiff Devils stormed to a crucial away win against Coventry Blaze in the English midlands on the same night title rivals Belfast Giants crashed and burned in Sheffield.
An extremely tight, end-to-end game at Coventry’s Skydome saw Cardiff leave with an important two points in the title race. The match was goalless for more than 50 minutes.
Ben Bowns blanked Blaze for his fourth shutout of the season, stopping 29 shots, while Devils killed all seven penalties they took.
The deadlock was broken after 50-01 when Charles Linglet was fast down the left-wing and threw the puck across the slot to Bryce Reddick and he deflected the puck past past goalie Matt Hackett into the net.
The goal was reviewed because it came off Reddick’s skate, but stood after the referees had checked it over.
Devils then doubled their lead 85 seconds later with another goal in the dirty areas. The puck was put on net and poke-checked by Hackett only to deflect off Stephen Dixon and then back off Hackett into the net.
Scorers: Bryce Reddick 1+0, Stephen Dixon 1+0, Charles Linglet 0+2, Layne Ulmer 0+1, Mike Hedden 0+1.
Period scores (Blaze first): 0-0; 0-0 (0-0); 0-2 (0-2).
Shots on goal: Blaze (on Ben Bowns) 14+6+9=29; Devils (on Matt Hackett) 13+9+12=34.
Penalties in minutes: Blaze 2+2+2=5; Devils 6+4+4=14.
Special teams: Blaze PK 2/3, PP 0/7; Devils PK 7/7, PP 1/3.
Men off the match: Blaze, Matt Hackett; Devils, Charles Linglet.
Referees: Matt Thompson, Tom Pering.
On the same night, Cardiff’s closest title rivals Belfast Giants lost 4-1 at Sheffield Steelers.
Darcy Murphy opened the scoring in the latter half of the opening period at 14-23.
John Armstrong levelled the score and Ryan Martinelli gave Steelers a 2-1 lead.
Anthony DeLuca netted Sheffield’s third goal 52-32.
Jonas Westerling netted an empty net goal to complete Sheffield’s win.