Cardiff Devils 2 - 3 Coventry Blaze
Faceoff: 18:00 - 28/10/12
After the previous night’s defeat in Coventry saw Cardiff stay rooted to the bottom of the Challenge Cup table, the Devils were keen to their win that would move them into the qualifying positions.
A hooking penalty on Phil Hill just 7 minutes into the game gave the Blaze an early powerplay opportunity, but after intercepting a pass on the blue line Stuart MacRae skated away before firing a quick wrist-shot past Peter Hirsch and into the net.
The shorthanded goal gave the Devils the lead, but the Blaze remained on the powerplay and quickly equalised. Shea Guthrie’s shot from the blueline was deflected into the path of Dustin Cameron and he tapped in to make it 1-1.
The game remained close and tense throughout, with no further goals in the second period. Coventry started the third period on the powerplay due to Gerad Adams sitting in the bin for roughing, but once again they failed to take advantage. Tyson Marsh managed to clear the zone and it allowed MacRae to break down the left wing, before cutting inside and sliding the puck under Hirsch.
The goal lifted the Devils and for the next ten minutes dominated the play and chances. Even when they were short-handed they continued to cause the Blaze problems. Ben Davies broke down the left wing before passing to Max Birbraer whose one-timer beat Hirsch but bounced off the base of the post to safety.
Having survived the Devils onslaught, the Blaze got an equaliser with 8 minutes remaining thanks to NHLer Matt Beleskey. Despite initially slipping to the ice, he picked himself back up and skated through four Cardiff players before firing past Osaer to make it 2-2.
A minute later an off the puck incident saw Birbraer hit the ground clutching his face, and when he later retaliated he was thrown out with a Match penalty for crosschecking. The loss of Birbraer seemed to unsettle the Devils and after a scramble in front of the Cardiff net, Guthrie poked home the bobbling puck to give the Blaze the lead for the first time in the game.
Though Cardiff pulled Osaer for the extra skater in the final minute they couldn’t find an equaliser and fell to their second loss of the weekend. Ugly scenes on and off the ice followed the post-match handshakes and both sides could be looking at further bans once the EIHL Disciplinary Panel meet in the week.