B lair Riley after scoring the winning goal for Cardiff Devils.

Simply The Tightest Group I Have Coached Says Cardiff Devils’ Andrew Lord After Last Gasp Elite Victory

Andrew Lord paid tribute to his Cardiff Devils players after their 3-2 Elite League home win against Fife Flyers at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay.

Blair Riley scored a last minute winner against Flyers to earn a victory which lifts Devils to within one point of leaders Sheffield Steelers with three games in hand.

“This is the closest group of guys I have ever coached,” said head coach Lord. “That togetherness is everything.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position to hopefully win the Challenge Cup – we have a huge game against Steelers in the final – and we are in the thick of the title chase along with some very good teams.

“It looks like going to the wire. Consistency is the key – the most consistent team will winch trophy. Our job is to eliminate mistakes and play the right way.”

Devils outshot Flyers 52-29 and Canadian goalie Adam Morrison was in sensational form for Fife, but Devils stayed calm and skated to victory, albeit thanks to Riley’s late strike.

“We have eight or nine guys still here since the ownership changed and a core group of 15-16 returning guys,” said Lord. “We’ve been through it in this race a number of times and have experience to draw on.

“There is a will to win, a camaraderie among the guys. You need a close group and I’m proud of the guys

“We kept pushing and found a way.”

Joey Martin, Mark Richardson and Riley scored for Devils and all three came in the final period.

Devils, title winners in 2017 and 2019, and runners-up to Belfast last season, 

Flyers scored the only goal of the opening period through former Devil Paul Crowder just three minutes into the game and that remained the score going into the final 20 minutes.

Martin levelled the score 16 seconds into the final period when he hammered home a puck poked onto his stick by Evan Mosey.

Then with less than minutes left, Richardson started and finished a passing move. He swapped passes with Masi Marjamaki to put Devils 2-1 ahead at 52-14.

Crowder tipped in his second goal with less than five minutes left to tie it up at 2-2 before Riley struck with the winner 49 seconds from the end.

Captain Martin pulled up just inside the Flyers zone and found Riley, who had plenty of time to fire the game winner past goalie Morrison.

Devils, who rested Charles Linglet and Mark Louis from the match, now turn to a home fixture against Guildford Flames at the Viola Arena one Saturday (7pm).

Blair Riley celebrates his last minute winner for Cardiff Devils. Credit Dave Williams

Match stats:

Scorers, Devils: Joey Martin 1+1, Mark Richardson 1+1, Blair Riley 1+0, Masi Marjamaki 0+1, Mike McNamee 0+1, Evan Mosey 0+1, Gleason Fournier 0+1, 

Flyers: Paul Crowder 2+0, Danick Gauthier 0+1, Chase Schaber 0+2, Michal Gutwald 0+1

Period scores (Devils first): 0-1; 0-0 (0-1); 3-1 (3-2)

Shots on goal: Devils (on Adam Morrison) 21+19+17=57; Fife (on Ben Bowns) 5+9+8=22     

Penalties in minutes: Devils 0+2+2=4; Flyers 0+2+2=4

Powerplays: Devils 2, Flyers 1

Face-offs won: Devils 52, Flyers 29

Man of the match: Mark Richardson

Attendance 3,020

Referees: Stephen Matthews, Dean Smith

Devils line-up:

Goalies: Ben Bowns (back-up Thomas Murdy)

First line: Gleason Fournier, Mark Richardson, Joey Haddad, Joey Martin, Evan Mosey

Second line: Sean McMonagle, Bryce Reddick, Sean Bentivoglio, Stephen Dixon, Mat Pope

Third line: Sam Jardine, Shaone Morrisonn, Masi Marjamaki, Mike McNamee, Blair Riley

Fourth line: Josh Batch, Matthew Myers, Sam Duggan

Elite League standings (all teams play 54 matches)

# Team GP Score Pts
1 Sheffield Steelers 44 186:137 57
2 Cardiff Devils 41 138:121 56
3 Nottingham Panthers 42 134:107 55
4 Belfast Giants 43 130:107 54
5 Coventry Blaze 42 157:145 50
6 Guildford Flames 42 127:126 47
7 Glasgow Clan 43 132:167 37
8 Manchester Storm 43 108:135 37
9 Dundee Stars 43 135:162 36
10  Fife Flyers 45 115:155 30

Wednesday results: Glasgow Clan 2, Nottingham Panthers 4; Cardiff Devils 3, Fife Flyers 2; Guildford Flames 1, Belfast Giants 5

The Elite League title chase

Leaders – Sheffield Steelers

10 fixtures left (20 points maximum – 6 home, 5 away)

February

Saturday 22 @ Nottingham Panthers

Sunday 23 v Belfast Giants

Saturday 29 v Fife Flyers

March

Sunday 1 @ Guildford Flames

Friday 6 @ Cardiff Devils

Sunday 8 v Cardiff Devils – Challenge Cup Final at the Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay (4pm)

Saturday 14 v Manchester Storm

Saturday 21 v Dundee Stars

Sunday 22 @ Dundee Stars

Saturday 28 @ Manchester Storm

Sunday 29 v Cardiff Devils

Second – Cardiff Devils

13 fixtures left (26 points maximum – 7 home, 6 away)

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February

Saturday 22 v Guildford Flames

Sunday 23 @ Coventry Blaze

Saturday 29 @ Nottingham Panthers

March

Sunday 1 v Dundee Stars

Friday 6 v Sheffield Steelers

Sunday 8 v Sheffield Steelers – Challenge Cup Final at the Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay (4pm)

Saturday 14 v Guildford Flames

Sunday 15 @ Dundee Stars

Wednesday 18 v Coventry Blaze

Saturday 21 @ Nottingham Panthers

Sunday 22 v Manchester Storm

Wednesday 25 @ Glasgow Clan

Saturday 28 v Belfast Giants

Sunday 29 @ Sheffield Steelers

Third – Nottingham Panthers

12 fixtures left (24 points maximum – 7 home, 5 away)

Wednesday 19 @ Glasgow Clan

February

Saturday 22 v Sheffield Steelers

Sunday 23 @ Guildford Flames

Saturday 29 v Cardiff Devils

March

Sunday 1 v Coventry Blaze

Friday 13 @ Belfast Giants

Saturday 14 @ Belfast Giants

Tuesday 17 v Manchester Storm

Saturday 21 v Cardiff Devils

Sunday 22 v Coventry Blaze

Wednesday 25 v Guildford Flames

Saturday 28 @ Dundee Stars

Sunday 29 @ Glasgow Clan

Fourth – Belfast Giants

11 fixtures left (22 points maximum – 8 home, 3 away

February

Saturday 22 @ Manchester Storm

Sunday 23 @ Sheffield Steelers

Friday 28 v Guildford Flames

Saturday 29 v Guildford Flames

March

Friday 6 v Fife Flyers

Friday 13 v Nottingham Panthers

Saturday 14 v Nottingham Panthers

Friday 20 v Fife Flyers

Saturday 21 v Fife Flyers

Saturday 28 @ Cardiff Devils

Sunday 29 @ Coventry Blaze

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