Devils Blow Steelers Away In Challenge Cup Stunner

Cardiff Devils have completed arguably the best comeback in their 32-year history.

Captain Jake Morissette and his Devils teammates left Sheffield Steelers shocked and stunned at Ice Arena Wales.

Steelers went into the Challenge Cup semi-final second leg leading 6-2 from the first game and brimming with confidence.

Devils powered to a 7-1 victory, winning all three periods, and earning a 9-7 aggregate victory. They will play Belfast Giants, who defeated Nottingham Panthers 7-6 in the second leg and 12-7 on aggregate.

Devils’ player-coach Andrew Lord said: “It was tough going in having given up a four-goal lead in the first leg but the guys responded and boy did they play so hard as a team and for each other.

“Honestly it’s a memorable night for the organisation in its entirety.”

It was 60 minutes if pure madness and a night Steelers coach Paul Thompson, his plays and their fans will never forget.

Devils owners were watching in Calgary Canada and Craig Shoshtack tweeted: “What a great day to be a @cardiffdevils fan! Heart of a lion. #Believe.”

In Cardiff Bay, Welsh pride and passion took over in a Devils performance which left Steelers breathless.

Nathan Rempel scored a hat-trick in Devils’ magnificent comeback during the British Knockout Cup fi al against Coventry Blaze in 2006.

More than 3,000 spectators were in Cardiff Bay and Devils fans sang, cheered and roared their support for a team who came out hard and maintained their aggression.

The atmosphere was amazing and Devils could not be stopped in a rip-roaring team display which Steelers could not match.

Shoshtack’s fellow owner Steve King tweeted: “So there’s that. Are you kidding me ????? Flights BOOKED!!!”

I was there when Cardiff stormed back from 3-0 down against Coventry Blaze after the Cup final first leg. Home fans at the Wales National Ice Rink were mocked by Blaze supporters, who lifted cardboard cut-outs of the trophy, covered in silver foil, during the second leg.

Nathan Rempel scored a hat-trick and Rejean Stringer ripped into Blaze and Devils won the cup.

I clearly remember when Devils were 5-1 down at home against London Knights and Welsh forward Nicky Chinn dropped the gloves to fight a tough import.

Nicky Chinn’s fight against London Knights sparked a memorable recovery at the Wales National Ice Rink.

Chinn came out on top, London were stunned and Devils hit back to win the League clash.

There have been other remarkable recoveries, but this win against Steelers must surely top the lot.

Sheffield are a seriously talented and well coached team, but they were made to look ordinary on a night when they were tasked with keeping things safe and solid to earn victory.

There were seven different Cardiff scorers on a night when their players gave everything for each other.

Devils went into the final period leading 4-1, still a goal down on aggregate, and they scored three goals in less than two minutes.

Paul Crowder (40-45), Patrick Asselin (41-05) and Sean Bentivoglio (42-36) left Devils down and out.

They pulled goalie Ervins Mustukovs late in the game, but their confidence was shattered by then and there was no way back.

Devils now play Giants in the Challenge Cup final at Ice Arena Wales on Sunday, March 4 (4pm). Head coach Andrew Lord and his team are through to the final for a fourth successive season.

They are holders and have lifted the twice in the last three seasons.

Elite League champions Devils now focus on Saturday’s match at Milton Keynes Lightning. Cardiff are top of the table and travel to Lightning before returning home for Sunday’s clash with Nottingham Panthers (6pm).

That match against Panthers is already virtually sold out and Devils are fired up for the remaining two months of the season.

Match stats:


Devils: Matthew Myers 1+1, Layne Ulmer 1+2, Matt Pope 1+1, Justin Faryna 1+1, Paul Crowder 1+0, Patrick Asselin 1+1, Sean Bentivoglio 1+2, Gleason Fournier 0+2, Jake Morissette 0+3, Josh Batch 0+1.

Steelers: Eric Neiley 1+0, Jonas Westerling 0+1, Mathieu Roy 0+1.

Period scores (Devils first): 2-1; 2-0 (4-1); 3-0 (7-1). Devils win 9-7 on aggregate.

Shots on goal: Devils (on Mustukovs) 11+15+14=40; Steelers (on Bowns) 10+5+13=28.

Penalties in minutes: Devils 2+2+2=6; Steelers 8+0+2=10.

Powerplays: Devils 4/5; Steelers 1/3.

Referees: Mike Hicks and Tom Darnell.

Attendance: 3,000-plus.

Stars of the game: Devils, Ben Bowns; Steelers, Mathieu Roy.

To book tickets for Devils matches CLICK HERE or CALL 0800 0842 666 to book, while CLICK HERE for the full fixtures list.

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