A late powerplay strike for the home town Vaxjo Lakers sealed the win for the reigning Swedish Champions on Tuesday night in CHL action.
The Devils scored first when Joey Haddad fed Mike Hedden with a breakaway pass and the Devils leading scorer in the competition slid the puck between the legs of netminder Viktor Andren to make it 1-0 at 8:33 of the first period.
But Vaxjo came back less than 90 seconds later to tie the game through Pontus Netterburg with a great individual effort off of a faceoff in the Devils defensive zone, eventually beating Ben Bowns in the Cardiff goal.
A mishandled puck on a Devils powerplay sprung Brendan Shinnimin for a breakaway and he fired it low past Bowns to put the hometown Lakers up 2-1 at 15:35 of the first period.
A scoreless middle period saw the teams trade powerplay chances but neither team could score with the man advantage, and the game headed into the final period with the Lakers still leading 2-1.
The Devils had a golden opportunity to tie the game when Netterberg was called for a 4-minute boarding penalty but the Lakers were perfect on the penalty-kill and managed to keep the Devils at bay.
The final goal of the game came in the last minute of play with the Lakers on a powerplay of their own. Jonas Rondberg blasted a perfect pass from Austin Ortega over a sprawling Bowns to seal the win for Vaxjo.
The two teams meet again, this time in Cardiff next Tuesday October 16th.
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Photo Credit: Fredrik Sten