Faryna’s Steely Edge Fires Up Devils Title Bid

Feisty Justin Faryna fired up Cardiff Devils’ title challenge when he fought the toughest man in Elite League ice hockey.

Faryna went toe-to-toe with 6ft 2ins Canadian enforcer Mathieu Gagnon at a time when Devils needed a spark.

Gagnon, who fought Cardiff’s Tyson Strachan earlier this season, has been building a reputation as the toughest guy around, but Faryna went for it.

Devils were trailing 4-1 against Panthers before Faryna and Gagnon dropped their gloves – and that fight fired up the Welsh team.

Cardiff battled back with such intensity that Nottingham were hanging on at the end and hugely relieved to score an empty net goal to make it 6-4, while title rivals Fife Flyers were beaten 4-1 on home ice the next evening.

“Justin knew we needed a spark,” said Devils head coach Andrew Lord. “He went out and got the job done. Honestly, that probably changed the entire weekend.

“When that happened it got the boys going and it’s clear who close we were to tying things up.”

Faryna was man of the match against Flyers and his line, alongside Paul Crowder and Joey Haddad, found impressive form.

“That whole line was going at it in the right direction and we’ll need that spirit over the rest of this season,” said Lord.

Lord was bitterly disappointed with his team after the first period in Nottingham, where they went in 4-0 down, and says: “We played four good periods out of six over last weekend.

“It was a good win against Fife, a good response. The Nottingham game was a huge wake-up call for all of us, including myself.

“That’s the best we’ve seen Nottingham play this season and arguably the worst I’ve seen us playing during the first period. I loved our compete to fight back.

“I thought we would tie it up against Panthers, while I liked the way we close out against Flyers.”

League leaders Devils travel to Glasgow for their next match, taking on Braehead Clan (7.30pm).

They will then entertain Coventry Blaze home and away, at Ice Arena Wales on Saturday (7pm) and the Skydome on Sunday (5.15pm).

Nottingham have added to their team by signing 28-year-old forward Luke Pither from Swedish team Almtuna IS. He scored seven goals and 12 points in 31 matches before coming to the UK.

Ontario-born playmaker Pither native has played in the American League, primarily for Adirondack Phantoms, East Coast League, Finland and Austria.

Tickets for Cardiff’s home Challenge Cup semi-final against Sheffield Steelers on Wednesday, February 7 are on sale. The game is not included on season tickets.

Season Ticket Holders are now able to book their seats by telephone on 0800 0842 666 or in person at the main reception of Ice Arena Wales.

To book Devils tickets online CLICK HERE or call 0800 0842 666.

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