Andrew Lord loved his lethal Devils during their convincing Elite League victory against rivals Nottingham Panthers at Ice Arena Wales.
Coach Lord’s men powered into a four-goal lead in less than 12 minutes, left Panthers reeling and came out 5-2 winners.
Cardiff Devils have won 14 of their last 15 League matches, earning 29 of the 30 points on offer, and stand top of the table.
“We came out hard in the first period and the guys were lethal,” said Lord. “They came out with real jam.
“But in both matches this weekend (Guildford away, Panthers home) our second period wasn’t good enough. There are a few areas we need to clean up and more before our big cup match in midweek.”
Devils play Guildford Flames in the second leg of their Challenge Cup quarter-final at the IAW in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday (7.30pm). The teams are locked at 3-3 after the first game with Sheffield Steelers awaiting the winners in the last four.
“Flames are an extremely good team who skate great,” said Lord. “Their top three or four guys can really make you pay and that;s what happened during overtime in Guildford on Saturday.”
Devils were edged out 3-2 in the extra five minutes, a defeat which ended a 13-match winning streak.
Canadian goaltender Chris Carrozzi was in brilliant for Flames, producing a series of big saves including a double-stop from Jake Morissette.
“Their goaltending was tremendous,” said Lord. “We know what we need to do in the second leg. It’s going to be an up tempo, highly competitive game.
“We are facing a huge challenge and will have to be at our best.”
Paul Crowder has returned to the Devils team after injury, while Drew Paris is now ruled out after taking a knock and Lord says that is ‘precautionary’.
Crowder joined Justin Faryna and Joey Haddad on their line, while Sean Bentivoglio, Patrick Asselin and Layne Ulmer again teamed up.
Man of the match Matt Pope, Joey Martin and Morissette also joined forces, while Matthew Myers and Luke Piggott both played major roles as they slotted in and out. The work ethic of both British players was a key part of the team effort.
Three goals in 96 seconds during the first period left Panthers reeling.
Devils had already scored through Pope with only 44 seconds on the clock before Asselin (9-39), Pope (10-39) Joey Martin (11-16) gave their team a stranglehold on the game.
Between the third and fourth goals Panthers pulled Danish goaltender Patrick Galbraith and sent in Michael Garnett, but the Canadian back-up was beaten within 36 seconds.
Panthers did pull a goal back when Ollie Betteridge netted (12-40), but Devils went in for the break with a healthy 4-1 lead.
Devils failed to maintain momentum in the second and their lead was cut by one goal when Panthers scored shorthanded just before the second break.
Suddenly, Nottingham felt sensed a way back into the match, but their bid was killed off by Ulmer in the third.
The experienced Canadian produced some terrific stickwork to win the puck and scored Devils fifth goal.
That proved the killer blow for Panthers and Devils came out of a tough weekend having earned three League points from a possible four.
Scorers, Devils: Matt Pope 1+2, Paul Crowder 1+0, Layne Ulmer 1+0, Patrick Asselin 1+0, Joey Martin 1+2, Jake Morissette 0+1.
Panthers: Ollie Betteridge 1+0, Jeff Brown 1+0, Erik Lindhagen 0+2, David Clarke 0+1.
Period scores (Devils first): 4-1; 0-1 (4-2); 1-0 (5-2).
Penalties in minutes: Devils 2+2+6=10; Panthers 2+4+2=8
Powerplays: Devils 1/4; Panthers 0/4.
Shots on goal: Devils (on Galbraith/Garnett) ; Panthers (on Bowns)
Referees: Mike Hicks and Jan Schmejkal.
Stars of the game: Devils, Matt Pope; Panthers, Ollie Bettering.
The next two Devils matches are both at home against Guildford. The teams clash in Challenge Cup action on Wednesday (7.30pm) and again in the League next Sunday (6pm), with at Ice Arena Wales.
Cardiff are without a fixture on Saturday.
Ticket info for Devils matches is available ONLINE HERE or by telephone on 0800 0842 666.
Wednesday’s cup clash is included on season tickets.