Cardiff Devils 2, Fehervar 4
Canadian defenceman Sam Jardine celebrated his 26th birthday by playing for Cardiff Devils in their second pre-season match at their Viola Arena home rink.
Jardine, who twice won the Kelly Cup in North America, has switched from Growlers in Newfoundland to Devils and says after his first week in South Wales: “It’s been a lot of fun. This is a lovely city, everything is beautiful.
“When I talked to Lordo (head coach Andrew Lord) we just talked about winning, first and foremost. That’s what I care about most.
“I can fit a lot of different roles and will do whatever it takes to help our team. I skate well, shoot well, pass and more.
“My aim is to blend in to the culture that’s working already. We have a group of guys highly focused, all of us excited to get going and we will be extremely well prepared for the start of our season.”
Jardine, from Lacombe, Alberta, signed for Devils following an historic season with the Newfoundland Growlers of the East Coast League where he helped the team capture the province’s first ever professional hockey championship.
“Sam is a huge signing, a great all-around defenceman with many assets, the perfect player to balance out our D-core,” says Lord. “He is big, skates well, plays hard, is strong defensively and has an offensive upside.”
The 6ft 2ins Jardine won the East Coast League Kelly Cup with Toronto Marlies organisation affiliate Colorado Eagles and, last season, Newfoundland Growlers.
Newly-appointed captain Joey Martin, who has taken over the C following Jake Morissette’s retirement, missed Cardiff’s back-to-back pre-season games against Hungarian club Fehervar AV19 with a minor muscle strain.
Former Devils captain Tyson Marsh reacted to Martin’s appointment by tweeting: “It was only a matter of time before the other half of the Mo-Marty connection took the reins. Good luck filling Mo’s shoes, Marty.
“He set that bar higher than ever.”
Cardiff Devils won 5-2 against Fehervar on Saturday, while the Hungarians edged to a 4-2 win the next evening with an empty net goal clinching victory.
The teams then finished the evening with a penalty shootout and, once again, the visitors were winners.
Sunday’s match was another feisty affair between the two teams who set the tone early with some good chances and even better hits in the opening 10 minutes.
The best chance came off the stick of Charles Linglet when he danced through the defence, but couldn’t find a way past net minder Daniel Kornakker.
Mike McNamee opened the scoring at 28-03 on the powerplay with Gleason Fournier drawing the lone assist, but less than four minutes later Daniel Szabo levelled score with a powerplay goal of his own.
At 33-15 Anze Kuralt fired ahead with their second powerplay goal. The scoreline stayed at 2-1 in favour of Fehervar after 40 minutes of play.
Devils tied the game at 2-2 after 52-07, again on the powerplay, when man of the match Joey Haddad tipped in a shot from Sean McMonagle.
At 54:46 Fehervar were back in front courtesy of Aron Reisz with a low shot that beat goalie Ben Bowns to make it 3-2 and the game was sealed with an empty net goal from Mikko Lehtonen 18 seconds from the end.
The next pre-season tests for Devils are against Nottingham Panthers next weekend, away win Saturday and at home Sunday.
Cardiff Devils recruitment
Signings: (22 players announced – 14 imports, 8 British – maximum 14 imports can ice in any one EIHL game):
Head coach: Andrew Lord
Netminder: Ben Bowns, Thomas Murdy, Jordan Lawday.
Defence: Sean McMonagle (import), Mark Richardson, Mark Louis (import), Gleason Fournier (import), Bryce Reddick (import), Sam Jardine (import)
Forwards: Sean Bentivoglio (import), Masi Marjamaki (import), Blair Riley (import), Stephen Dixon (import), Matthew Myers, Matt Pope (import), Mike McNamee (import), Sam Duggan, Joey Martin (import), Joey Haddad (import), Charles Linglet (import), Josh Batch, Toms Rutkis.
Cardiff Devils pre-season and Champions League schedule:
Saturday 10 Cardiff Devils 5 Fehervar 2
Sunday 11: Cardiff Devils 2, Fehervar 4
Saturday 17: Nottingham Panthers v Cardiff Devils (in Nottingham, 7pm)
Sunday 18 Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay, 6pm)
Sunday 25 Cardiff Devils V MAC Budapest (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay, 6pm)
Friday 30 Cardiff Devils v Mountfield HK (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 7.30pm)
Sunday 1 Cardiff Devils v Graz 99ers (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 6pm)
Thursday 5 Mountfield HK v Cardiff Devils (Champions Hockey League fixture, 5pm)
Saturday 7 Graz 99ers v Cardiff Devils (Champions Hockey League fixture, 6.15pm)
Tuesday 8 Frolunda Indians v Devils (Champions Hockey League fixture, 5pm)
Tuesday 15 Devils v Frolunda Indians (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 7.30pm)
Single game tickets for pre-season and Champions Hockey League matches are now available along with the even-game ticket pack.
CLICK HERE TO BOOK ONLINE or call us on 0800 0842 666
The 7-game pack, covering all four pre-season and three CHL home fixtures, offer big discounts and no service charges.