Hull Stingrays 7 - 5 Cardiff Devils
Faceoff: 19:30 - 13/09/12
Cardiff travelled to Hull on Thursday night for the opening Challenge Cup game of the season. Having been without ice all week it was perhaps not surprising that they started slowly, Ryan Hand giving the home side the lead after just 47 seconds.
The Devils regrouped though and hit back midway through the first period. Chris Blight collected a pass in the neutral and after speeding around the defenceman he cut back inside to score with a backhand finish. Cardiff looked to have put themselves in control of the game with a powerplay goal before the period break. Blight’s powerful slapshot could only be blocked by Ben Bowns in the Hull goal and Mac Faulkner was in the right place to hammer home the rebound and give the Devils the lead.
Early in the second period though the Stingrays started their own fight back. Cale Tanaka was allowed to skate behind the net unchallenged to score a wraparound goal to tie the game. Less than a minute late the Devils had retaken the lead, Adam Harding winning the puck behind the net and setting up Faulkner to one-time it past Bowns.
Hull were refusing to give up though and equalised once again with a powerplay goal from Jereme Tendler after a scramble in front of Phil Osaer. Penalties against Faulkner and Phil Hill then gave the Stingrays a 5-on-3 powerplay, and Tendler scored again to give Hull a 4-3 lead at the end of the second period.
Cardiff had a great chance to equalise with a powerplay at the start of the third period, but mistakes in the neutral zone allowed Tendler to break away and score a short-handed goal to complete his hat-trick.
It wasn’t to be the only short-handed goal of the game, as just minutes late on another powerplay Cardiff conceded again. This time it was Jason Silverthorn who intercepted a pass on his own blueline before breaking away to make it 6-3.
The game looked over but with ten minutes remaining Cardiff attempted yet another comeback. A hooking penalty on Cloutier presented them with a powerplay opportunity and this time the Devils made it count to their advantage. Devin Didiomete with the great pass to pick out Faulkner who completed his hat-trick.
Straight from the resulting face-off, Cardiff went straight back down the Hull end and after collecting a pass in front of the net, Max Birbraer faked a couple of shots before scoring to cut the deficit to just one.
As the game moved into the final minute and with a Stingrays player already in the bin, the Devils pulled Osaer for the extra skater and a 6-on-4 advantage. Though they came close several times, it was the Stingrays who eventually scored thanks to Tomas Valecko’s long rang effort and seal a shock 7-5 victory.