The ice in Cardiff Bay caught Fire and left the Hornets burned out and hurting. Or did I dream it all as Fire staged a huge recovery to win 10-9 in overtime?
This explosive, incredible, remarkably entertaining National League match had almost everything anybody could want in an ice hockey match at any level.
Spectators at Ice Arena Wales were treated to the spectacle of two teams – Cardiff Fire and Bracknell Hornets – going toe-to-toe, slugging it out and refusing to give an inch.
After two periods fans of both teams were already gasping after 13 goals and two fights.
Captain Alan Armour and his Cardiff band of brothers were down, time and again. They were, surely, finished when they were trailing 9-6 heading into the last five minutes of the match.
The men in Armour’s Army refused to go along with that view and, in a sensational finish, they scored four three goals in five minutes and two seconds to tie things up and then fired an overtime winner.
Phil Manny (54-40), Tamas Elias (57-21) and Jackson Price (59-42) scored the goals which earned Fire a 9-9 tie – and then Hungarian-born Elias, aged 22, netted Cardiff’s 10th goal two minutes 53 seconds into sudden death overtime and sparked massive celebrations.
Swindon-born Price, also 22, finished with four goals including their first two, both on the powerplay.
Welsh player Steven Fisher, a 31-year-old Newport-born former Cardiff Devils player, led the Hornets charge by scoring three goals with two assists.
In a fiercely contested match Ross Wilkinson and Sam Bryant were involved in fights. A big centre ice hit by Wilkinson upset the visitors and Conor Sheehan took exception, but the Fire man clearly came out on top during the opening period.
Bryant and Hornets’ man Adam Bicknell were next to drop the gloves in a fairly even contest.
This was a second successive win for Cardiff Fire following their victory at Invicta the previous evening and they look ahead with great confidence after this weekend.
Player-coach Chris Douglas, who was on the bench rather than the ice against Hornets, now prepares his team for consecutive away fixtures, against Bristol Pitbulls next Saturday (5pm) and then Slough Jets (Saturday, October 27; 5.45pm).
Fire’s next match at Ice Arena Wales on Sunday, October 28 when Lee Valley Lions are visitors (6pm).
Scorers, Fire: Jackson Price 5+1, Jordan Powell 2+3, Tamas Elias 2+2, Phil Manny 1+0, Ellis Sheppard 0+1, Sam Bryant 0+3, Ross Wilkinson 0+1, Joe Morris 0+1, Ricky Deacon 0+1, Alan Armour 0+3.
Hornets: Steven Fisher 3+2, William Stead 1+2, Ben Ealey-Newman 1+2, Jakub Fojtik 1+2, Luke Jackson 1+1, Daniel Hughes 1+1, Conor Hutchison 1+1, Jack Tarczycki 0+1, Daniel Clayton 0+1, Harvey Hind-Pitcher 0+1.
Period scores (Fire first): 3-4; 3-3 (6-7); 4-2 (9-10).
Shots on goal: Fire (on James Richards) 53, Hornets (on James Whiting/Lewis Davies) 38.
Penalties in minutes: Fire 22+8+10=40, Hornets 24+12+4=40.
Referee: Nathan Osmond.
Stars of the game: Fire, Jackson Price; Hornets, Steven Fisher.
Sunday results, Division Two South (Wilkinson Conference: Swindon Wildcats 3, Bristol Pitbulls 9; Basingstoke Buffalo 2, Guildford 3; Chelmsford Chieftains 12, Haringey Huskies 3.