Cardiff Devils are at the heart of an Elite League title race which is becoming one of the most exciting I can remember.
Captain Jake Morissette and his Devils team clawed out a 3-2 win against Guildford Flames last night, while leaders Belfast Giants suffered a home defeat by the same scoreline against Dundee Stars.
Devils took command against Flames by scoring three unanswered second period goals and held on for a crucial victory.
Cardiff are now one point behind Giants with two games in hand. The title race is hotting up – and there are going to be plenty more twists and turns between now and March.
Flames led after 20 minutes at The Spectrum thanks to Calle Ackered’s powerplay goal (4-03), while Joey Martin was off the ice for hooking.
Devils turned things around in dramatic style thanks to Stephen Dixon (23-23), Evan Mosey (31-51) and Mark Richardson (34-12).
TJ Foster pulled a goal back in the third and Flames threw themselves forward, but there was no way past Ben Bowns in goal for Devils.
Devils play the Flames again on New Year’s Day, this time in Cardiff Bay at The Viola Arena (4pm).
Scorers, Devils: Stephen Dixon 1+0, Evan Mosey 1+0, Mark Richardson 1+0, Gleason Fournier 0+1, Mike Hedden 0+1, Mark Louis 0+1, Layne Ulmer 0+1, Matt Pope 0+1, Sean Bentivoglio 0+1.
— Guildford Flames (@flamesicehockey) December 30, 2018
Flames: Calle Ackered 1+1, TJ Foster 1+0, Evan Janssen 0+1, Kruise Reddick 0+1, John Dunbar 0+1.
Period scores (Flames first) 1-0; 0-3 (1-3); 1-0 (2-3).
Shots on goal: Flames (on Bowns) 13+13+14=40; Devils (on Carrozzi) 9+14+10=33.
Penalties in minutes: Flames 2+0+2=4; Devils 2+2+4=8.
Special teams: Flames PK 1/1, PP 1/3; Devils 2/3. PP 0/1.
Stars of the game: Flames, Joshua Waller; Devils, Stephen Dixon.
Referees: Stefan Hogarth and Matt Thompson.
Belfast Giants 2, Dundee Stars 3
Dundee Stars ended Belfast’s three home game unbeaten streak with a win by the odd goal in five.
Stars earned their win the hard way by coming from behind. Dustin Johner scored Belfast’s first after three minutes and Darcy Murphy doubled the hosts’ lead around five minutes later.
Stars, though, were level before the period was over. Charles Corcoran (12:34) and Brian Hart (12-56).
The game winner came with eight minutes 14 seconds left.
Giants hit the bar inside the final minute as they pushed for an equaliser, but Stars held on to win.
Fixtures – the final pair of games in 2018 take place this evening in the Elite Ice Hockey League.
Glasgow Clan v Fife Flyers 2pm
Already a sell-out. Clan were unlucky to lose in Belfast at the weekend and have won three of their last five on home ice.
“We look solid, we’re fast in transition and are creating good chances,” said Clan head coach.
Todd Dutiaume, Fife’s coach, says: “If we come out and play with an edge and guys skating, I like our chances.
“If we come out going through the motions in this league you get punished, but the way we played over Christmas was a lot better and is something we have to build on.”
Nottingham Panthers v Coventry Blaze 4pm
Tonight’s game at the Motorpoint Arena looks certain to be a sell-out with the Panthers hoping to bounce back against a Coventry team they lost to a couple of nights ago.
Elite League fixtures
Glasgow Clan v Fife Flyers (2pm)
Nottingham Panthers v Coventry Blaze (4pm)
Cardiff Devils v Guildford Flames (4pm)
Manchester Storm v Sheffield Steelers (5.30pm)
Fife Flyers v Milton Keynes Lightning (6pm)
Dundee Stars v Glasgow Clan (7.30pm)
Nottingham Panthers v Guildford Flames (7.30pm)
Dundee Stars v Milton Keynes Lightning (7.30pm)
Belfast Giants v Sheffield Steelers (7pm)
Cardiff Devils v Manchester Storm (7pm)
Glasgow Clan v Dundee Stars (7pm)
Milton Keynes Lightning v Coventry Blaze (7pm)
Nottingham Panthers v Fife Flyers (7pm)
Belfast Giants v Sheffield Steelers (4pm)
Coventry Blaze v Glasgow Clan (5.15pm)
Manchester Storm v Nottingham Panthers (5.30pm)
Guildford Flames v Milton Keynes Lightning (6pm)
Fife Flyers v Cardiff Devils (6.30pm)
ELITE ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE 2018-19
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