Fife Flyers should study the game tape from this defeat, and watch Cardiff Devils’ powerplay unit’s execution.
That’s how you win hockey games.
It was certainly a material difference in a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the league champions, with two goals coming from the specialist team.
Devils asked plenty questions of a Fife side which worked hard, but didn’t quite have the spark needed to bury this game.
Devils made an impressive start to this game, putting Fife under considerable pressure to secure an early lead.
Goals change momentum in ice hockey and at 2-1 and then 3-2 up, Flyers played some good hockey, chased down pucks with a relentlessness that forced their Welsh visitors into mistakes, and set up some tasty chances.
But on the powerplay they were nought for five – Devils were two for four – a return which hindered their hopes of a four-point weekend at the expense of two of the league’s biggest teams.
It was a measure of the sense of disappointment in the dressing-room how far Flyers have come this season.
‘’It felt like they’d lost a play-off final,’’ said head coach, Todd Dutiaume.
Flyers came back from the loss of a second minute goal to Devils’ Gleason Fournier to take the opening period 2-1.
With 11 minutes played, Shayne Stockton made a glorious steal to turn the play round, and his set up allowed a hard working Carlo Finucci to apply the finish.
Two minutes later they were 2-1 up and looking good; Jim Jorgensen fired the puck along the blue line, James Isaacs shot for goal, and Chase Schaber’s final touch took it past netminder Ben Bowns.
Devils tied the game within 45 seconds of period two starting, with Joey Martin knocking home from close range, before Fife responded inside two minutes – Jorgensen’s pass to the back post was turned across the goal by Schaber and netted by Danick Gauthier.
The clinical approach of Devils’ powerplay was evident when Russ Moyer went for roughing at 36:30. He’d been in the bin for just 14 seconds when Paul Crowder netted with ease.
Ten minutes later it was 4-3 – Matt Pope’s drop pass was perfect for Jeff Ulmer to tap home on the powerplay – and Devils tightened their grip on this game.
With their defence starting to push Fife’s key players – some tired too – to the margins of this game they were happy to soak up some pressure and let the hosts work out a way to somehow tie the game.
It never came, and when Andy Iles headed to the bench with 1:32 to play, Crowder had all the time he needed to walk the puck into the empty net.