Cardiff Devils scored 3 unanswered in the 3rd, including a late empty netter, to erase a slim deficit on the way to a 4-2 Cup win over the visiting Flames.
The home side struck first when Cole Sanford got it started at 3:43, but Flames replied in the 12th minute thanks to Turner Ripplinger then Bradley Lalonde on a powerplay a couple of minutes later had the road team holding a 2-1 lead at the break.
Not long into the middle set, Flames had a golden opportunity to extend with a nearly full 2 minute 5 on 3 powerplay but were unable to add to their edge. Late in the frame a couple of Devils powerplays gave them a chance to level, but they too were unable to connect, and the period ended with Spectrum’s men still a goal in front.
Just ahead of the 3rd’s midway mark another Cardiff powerplay didn’t pull it even, but seconds after returning 5 on 5, Sanford’s 2nd of the contest did. 80 seconds after that, the ongoing pressure translated to a Justin Crandall strike to set Devils back in front and a Trevor Cox goal into the empty cage 51 seconds from time sealed the result.
Taz Burman made 30 stops on 33 shots while Callum Booth turned away 29 of 31.
“The 3rd was what separated the teams tonight, especially the first half of that period” explained Paul Dixon.
“Until that point I thought we had played pretty well and more than competitive enough to get a result. However, credit to Devils who took it up a gear and had us on our heels for too much of the 3rd. They had possession and pressure in our end and created a few outnumbered situations. Eventually they turned that into goals for their win.”
“There is a lot to build on here and a lot of positives so 1st game of season we are not going to get too excited about falling short here. We get into league action tomorrow night at home to Sheffield and we will try to clean up a few things to see what we can do about a getting a Sunday win.”