Gleason Fournier scored twice and Sean Bentivoglio won the game in overtime on Saturday Night in Manchester.
It was like going home for the Cardiff Devils as they travelled to the home of the Manchester Storm, Altrincham Arena, which is nearly a mirror image of the Devils’ old home, the Big Blue Tent.
It was anything but a warm welcome, because the Storm came out flying with some impressive chances from the drop of the puck, but Ben Bowns was solid early to keep the game scoreless. At the 9:51 mark of the first period, the Storm finally found a way past Bowns with Dane Byers giving the homeside the 1-0 lead.
The Devils then went to work on the powerplay, scoring on back to back opportunities, with Gleason Fournier scoring both goals. His first game at 16:39 of the first period with Matt Pope and Joey Martin getting the assists on the play, then with less than a minute to play in the period, Fournier put the Devils up 2-1 heading into the second period with Layne Ulmer and Pope getting the assists.
The middle period was filled with penalties with the Storm getting 4 chances with the man-advantage, but the Devils penalty-killing unit was up to task. At the other end, the Devils couldn’t score with their own powerplay chances as Storm netminder Mike Clemente kept the Devils at bay. After 40 minutes of play, the score remained 2-1 for the Devils.
Paul Swindlehurst tied the game for the Storm 5 minutes into the third period, and then for the next 12 minutes, it was the netminders time to shine at both ends of the ice. Clemente and Bowns battled it out from 200 feet away, with neither netminder giving up anything despite facing 14 and 15 shots respectively in the final period alone. The Devils took a 3-2 lead at 57:37 after piling on the pressure for nearly a minute resulting in Andrew Hotham shooting from just inside the blueline through a pile of bodies past Clemente.
But the scoring wasn’t over yet. With their netminder pulled for an extra attacker, Dane Byers got the final crack at a scrambling puck and put it past Bowns to tie the game with 18 seconds left to play.
The game went into 3 on 3 overtime, and with 2:41 gone in the extra period, a great transition by the Devils gave Andrew Hotham the chance to find Joey Martin who did a behind the back pass to Bentivoglio who then tucked the puck past Clemente to give the Devils the win.