Cardiff Devils sealed a fine overtime win over Coventry Blaze last night with a captain’s goal from leading scorer Stuart MacRae.
The Canadian rifled Phil Hill’s layoff into the top corner for 3-2 to send Devils fans wild after an engrossing contest in which they were behind for a long spell.
Kenton Smith had put the Devils 1-0 up at 6.15 in the first period with an assist from Scott Matzka, but Blaze hit back through Kralj Matic before going 2-1 ahead at 7.34 in the second period.
Great Britain forward Robert Farmer produced a clever finish from a tight angle to give Coventry a lead they would hold until well into the third period.
A tight game lacking in scoring chances then came to life, first after Devils’ Chris Frank picked-up a two minute minor and 10 minute misconduct for checking to the head.
But at 14.23 in the second things got even more heated as Coventry’s Bryan Jurynec squared-up to Cardiff’s Jamie Vanderveeken.
Once two referees had pulled the Blaze man away, he cupped a hand to his ear before a braying Devils crowd and was rapped with 2+5 for charging and a game misconduct.
Vanderveeken got two minutes for roughing but the second period ended with Coventry still 2-1 in front.
That’s how it stayed, despite Gerard Adams and Ben Davies going close for Cardiff, until Adam Harding scored his first goal for the Devils following his return to the city from US team California Titans.
The Great Britain U18 international poked in a rebound off Blaze goalie Peter Hirsch after an effort from Scott Matzka with 9.42 on the clock in the third period.
The Devils scrambled for a winner in normal time with both teams shorthanded for a spell, forward Phil Hill firing just wide with three minutes to go.
Blaze looked as likely to win it in overtime but that was before captain Stu found the net for the 25th time this season in the EIHL and completed a perfect day for Cardiff fans buoyed by Wales’ Six Nations win against Italy earlier in the day at the Millennium Stadium.
The Devils tightened their grip on fourth at the big blue tent with victory number four in a row before they face the Steelers this evening in Sheffield.
You can still read Tim's liveblog of the game here http://www.cardiffian.jomec.co.uk/article/cardiff-devils-vs-coventry-blaze