Wins for the Devils, Flyers, Blaze, Giants and Storm saw Fife end Saturday night top of the standings in the Elite League.
Cardiff Devils 7-1 Sheffield Steelers
A convincing win helped the Cardiff Devils to their fifth league victory as they comfortably beat the Sheffield Steelers at Ice Arena Wales.
Andrew Lord’s side found themselves 4-0 ahead early on as Matt Pope, Stephen Dixon, Charles Linglet and Gleason Fournier all struck after just ten minutes. Linglet found the net again as the hosts moved to 5-0 with only 27:11 played, before Stefan Della Rovere pulled one back for the Steelers shorthanded on 45 minutes. But the Devils had the last laugh however as Layne Ulmer and then Fournier again both found the target to give the Devils a 7-1 win.
Fife Flyers 7-5 Nottingham Panthers
Fife Flyers held off a third period onslaught from Nottingham Panthers as they went top of the league, deposing the previous leaders 7-5 in Kirkcaldy.
It was the visitors who struck first when Fife failed to clear their lines, allowing Jacob Doty to finish into an unguarded net. The home side levelled a few minutes later through Mike Cazzolla in a powerplay given after Alex Bolduc was in the penalty box for boarding.
Scott Aarssen put Flyers ahead with a powerplay wrist shot before Ricards Birzins attempt to drop one into the Panthers zone left the defence and netminder Sam Gospel beaten to make it 3-1. Panthers’ night got gradually worse as Carlo Finucci scored one shorthanded as Flyers broke clear under pressure to open a three-goal lead. Then it got even better as Paul Crowder swept in a fifth as the league leaders seemed to capitulate in the second period in Kirkcaldy.
Tommy Hughes and Luke Pither pulled two back for the visitors to bring them to within two as nerves started to kick in. Flyers edged three in front again through Danick Gauthier, but were pulled back to one as Mark Hurbutise and Pither, with this second made it 6-5 for the home side. Crowder’s second and Fife’s seventh ultimately settled the game, despite Panthers’ best efforts as Todd Dutiaume’s men reached the summit of the Elite League in a crazy game.
Glasgow Clan 3-5 Coventry Blaze
Coventry Blaze picked up their first away win of the season as they defeated Glasgow Clan 5-3, with Kevin Morris scoring twice.
The home side found themselves in front after three minutes when Matt Haywood scored with an excellent solo goal. It didn’t take long for the Blaze to strike back as Luke Ferrara played assist maker for Alex Forbes to slot low for the equaliser. Clan were back in front through Matt Beca for his first of the season, but Coventry hit back with three goals to turn the game in their favour.
Ben Lake turned in Trey Lewis’s shot to level the game up before Morris put the visitors in front, poking in from Kelin Ainsworth’s pass from the right. Ainsworth himself added the fourth as he finished off Jake Hansen’s assist, with the Blaze 4-2 ahead by the end of the second. Josh Gratton got one back early in the third to give the home fans hope of a comeback, but Morris’ second secured the points for a jubilant Skydome side.
Manchester Storm 4-3 OT Dundee Stars
It was a tale of two very different periods as the Manchester Storm and Dundee Stars needed overtime to separate their meeting at the Storm Shelter. The hosts got off an a fantastic start, two goals from Riley Stadel added to one from Chris Auger had them 3-0 up after 20 minutes.
Butt they were pegged back by the Stars in the second as Lukas Lundvald, Matt Marquardt and then Jordan Cownie struck to level the scores with 40 minutes played. After a scoreless third the game went to overtime, where Stadel completed his hat-trick with only 39 seconds remaining to give Manchester the win.
MK Lightning 1-5 Belfast Giants
The Belfast Giants skated out of MK with two points for the second time in as many matches after a 5-1 win in the second of their back-to-back series. The Giants had the better of the the first period, racing into a two-goal lead thanks to Hunter Bishop and Captain Blair Riley, who doubled the Belfast lead at 11:49 with a cool finish after Guillaume Gelinas’ shot cannoned off the post, with less than 12 minutes on the clock.
Lightning’s Trevor Morbeck pulled one back for the home side with 80 seconds remaining in the period, but Francis Beauvillier and Dustin Johner scoring two goals less than three minutes apart in the second all-but ended MK’s chances of a fightback. Johner added another to his tally with 55:34 gone to complete a 5-1 win for the Giants and put them joint top of the league.