Cardiff Devils Open League Title Defence In Winning Style

Cardiff Devils 4, Nottingham Panthers 1

Cardiff Devils underlined just how serious they are about retaining their Elite League title by storming to a second win in two days.

Player-coach Andrew Lord and his players have started the 2017-18 league season with back-to-back wins against big rivals Sheffield Steelers away and Nottingham Panthers in Cardiff Bay.

The game finished with a fight between Mathieu Gagnon and Cardiff’s Faryna – and what a fight it was.

Gagnon had the edge, but Faryna is a tough competitor in those situations and ensured the Nottingham man felt the pain as well.

After the fight, Robert Farmer was yelling at the Devils bench, but the game settled down again and the clock ticked out to conclude a decisive Devils victory.

Defenceman Drew Paris was again missing from the Devils line-up because of a minor injury with Lord stepping into the team.

Joey Haddad, man of the match Justin Faryna, Bryce Reddick and Paul Crowder were the Devils scorers against Panthers at Ice Arena Wales.

After a scoreless opening period the Devils started the second shorthanded, but killed off the penalty and scored after the next face-off.

Mark Richardson took a pass from Sean Bentivoglio and then danced in from the blueline, around two Panthers players, before picking out Haddad with a perfect cross ice pass. The Canadian forward hammered the puck into an open goal to make it 1-0 at 21 minutes 53 seconds.

Faryna made it 2-0 at 36-45, tapping in a rebound off the pad from netminder Mike Garnett, with Paul Crowder and Jake Morissette picking up assists.

With less than a minute left in the period, Matthew Myers found Reddick with time to spare and he lasered a wrist shot through the legs of Garnett to give the Devils a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Panthers pulled a goal back in the third when Robert Farmer tipped in an Evan Mosey shot from the blueline that somehow found its way past goalie Ben Bowns to spoil his shutout attempt, but that was all they could muster for the evening.

Crowder completed the scoring when he netted at 51-41 with Morissette getting the lone assist.

Crowder picked up the home man of the match after scoring a goal and adding an assist and Ben Bowns made 27 saves for the win.

Match stats:

Scorers, Devils: Joey Haddad 1+1, Justin Faryna 1+0, Bryce Reddick 1+0, Paul Crowder 1+1, Jake Morissette 0+2, Mark Richardson 0+1, Sean Bentivoglio 0+1, Matthew Myers 0+1.

Panthers: Robert Farmer 1+0, Evan Mosey 0+1, Dan Spang 0+1.

Period scores (Devils first): 0-0; 3-0 (3-0); 1–1 (4-1).

Shots on goal: Devils (on Garnett) 5+10+7=22; Panthers 14+7+7=28.

Penalties in minutesL Devils 9+2+9=20; Panthers 5+4+7=16.

Stars of the game: Devils, Paul Crowder; Panthers, Evan Mosey.

Other results, Sunday:

Elite League: Coventry Blaze 4, Braehead Clan 1; Guildford Flames 1, Sheffield Steelers 7; Manchester Storm 6, MK Lightning 2.

Challenge Cup: Dundee Stars 7, Fife Flyers 5; Edinburgh Capitals 5, Belfast Giants 6.

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