On the road, Ryan Tait had a 3 goal night and Flames jumped on the Cardiff Devils early with 4 unanswered 1st period goals that paved the way to a 7-5 Cup win over the Welsh side.
Peter Crinella started it at 2:41. His 2nd on a powerplay at 11:58 doubled the lead before Tait and Lewis Hook follow ups inside the period’s last 5 minutes had them in control at the break.
Devils cut into the deficit at 25:36 through Ryan Barrow and pulled within a pair at 30:35 off the stick of Joshua Waller, but Ryan Hughes a minute later and another Tait connection at 34:33 sent Flames through 40 minutes back on the 4 goal cushion; most of which they would need as things turned out.
Devils began crawling out of their hole when Cole Sanford and Riley Brandt scored less than a minute apart with half a period ahead. They then pulled within a single with more than 2 minutes remaining when they got their 5th through Marcus Crawford while their own net was empty in favour of an extra skater. They continued with the empty cage, where Flames finally relieved their own tension when Tait sunk the 7th to ensure the result.
“It was certainly an interesting way for us to end the evening under so much pressure and being forced to work to a much closer score than it was earlier in the game,” said Paul Dixon.
“We have been on the wrong side of that kind of start, and we know how hard it is to play most of the game trying to come from behind, so you have to really credit Cardiff for what they managed in the last period.”
“We never intended to be that much on the back foot across the period, but we fortunately we had done a lot earlier in the contest and did just enough at the end to keep them from pulling level.”
“They had the better of us for all the head to head games so far this season so it feels great to close out the group stage of the competition proving to ourselves that we are capable of beating a team of their calibre.”