Cardiff Devils 6, Coventry Blaze 5
Captain Jake Morissette struck gold for Cardiff Devils during a remarkable Elite League match against Coventry Blaze at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay.
‘Mo’ scored a shorthanded goal with two minutes left to secure victory for Devils, who stay top of the table after a fiercely contested match.
Devils were far from their best and made too many errors defensively, but they found a way to earn a crucial win.
“It was like the shootout at OK Coral,” said general manager Todd Kelman. “That was huge. What a goal.”
Head coach Andrew Lord and his team now turn to their Elite fixture at Guildford Flames on Sunday, while second-placed Belfast Giants play a third match in three nights when they travel to Nottingham Panthers.
A sell-out 3,100-plus attendance turned up for Devils’ Pride Night in support of LGBT sport.
Coventry led after 20 minutes when Shawn Pauley scoured the only first period goal at 8-05.
Devils were level at 22-18 through Mike Hedden, but 29 seconds later the visitors were back in front thanks to Ben Lake.
An excellent spell for the Blaze continued when Tim Crowder scored at 23-10 to put the visitors two ahead.
Just under 25 minutes into the period Joey Martin Converted for 2-3 and Martin struck again at 35-08 to bring the Devils level.
Gleason Fournier looked to have given the hosts an end of period lead with his goal at 37-49, but Lake found the net again on 38-55 to bring the scores back level at 4-4.
Cardiff took the lead for the first time in the game with Mike Hedden’s goal after 44-12 into the final period, but it took Chris Joyaux and the Blaze just 69 seconds to tie it up again.
The winner came 2-01 from the end when Morissette scoring shorthanded to take the points and keep Devils on course for a third successive Elite League title.
Scorers, Devils: Joey Martin 2+1, Gleason Fournier 1+3, Sam Duggan 1+0, Mike Hedden 1+0, Jake Morissette 1+0, Charles Linglet 0+1, Mike Hedden 0+1, Sean Bentivoglio 0+2, Matt Pope 0+2, Matthew Myers 0+1, Bryce Reddick 0+1.
Blaze: Shawn Pauly 1+2, Ben Lake 2+1, Chris Joyaux 1+0, Tim Crowder 1+0, Ross Venus 0+1, Alex Forbes 0+1, Kevin Noble 0+2, Luke Ferrara 0+1, David Clements 0+1, Thom Flodqvist 0+1.
Period scores (Devils first): 0-1; 4-3 (4-4); 2-1 (6-5).
Shots on goal: Devils (on Hackett) 9+17+9=35; Blaze (on Bowns) 9+12+7=25.
Penalties in minutes: Devils 0+4+4=8; 0+6+2=8.
Special teams: Devils PK 2/3, PP 2/3; Blaze PK 1/3, PP 1/3.
Stars of the game: Devils, Mike Hedden; Blaze, Ben Lake.
Referees: Matt Rose; Stefan Hogarth.
Other Elite League results: Belfast Giants 7, Guildford Flames 2; Glasgow Clan 6, Manchester Storm 4; Milton Keynes Lightning 4 Dundee Stars 3; Sheffield Steelers 3 Nottingham Panthers 1.
Sunday’s Elite League fixtures: Nottingham Panthers v Belfast Giants (4pm); Dundee Stars v Glasgow Clan (5pm); Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers (5.15pm); Guildford Flames v Cardiff Devils (6pm); Fife Flyers v Manchester Storm (6.30pm).