Cardiff Devils swept aside the Edinburgh Capitals 10-4 at the Cardiff Ice Arena last night to secure fourth spot in the Elite League.
Gerard Adams, Scott Dobben and Jamie Vanderveeken got things underway for Cardiff with scores in the first period, but it was in the second 20 when Cardiff really cut loose with seven goals in a devastating spell.
On 16.13 in the first Great Britain netminder Nathan Craze let a misplaced pass from Vanderveeken through his legs for a shorthanded goal and 3-0 Devils as Cardiff out-shot Edinburgh 12-2 in the opening period. But the Devils were unstoppable in the second with Vanderveeken, who was Cardiff’s man of the match at the Big Blue Tent, getting the fourth on 4.28 with a powerplay strike.
Craze was then taken off the ice to hearty cheers from the crowd after conceding a fifth to Devil’s captain Stuart MacRae on 5.54. His replacement Craig Holland faired no better, conceding five goals of his own as Cardiff raced into a 10-0 lead.
First Vanderveeken got his hat-trick with a powerplay goal assisted by MacRae and Phil Hill, before Ben Davies got number seven with help of Kenton Smith. Things only got worse for the Capitals as MacRae scored a breakaway goal with the Devils shorthanded on 11.16 after Adam Harding had been sent to the bin.
And Davies thought he had assisted a goal while on his knees on 15.52, but it was disallowed after officials ruled it had been punched into the net. Jeff Pierce then cut in from the right to make it 9-0 and Cardiff’s leading goal scorer this season added a second before the end of the period with another shorthanded strike.
But the Devils were breached with six seconds to go before the break as Capitals defenceman Tomas Valecko finally got the Scots team on the board, though they went down 7-1 in the period. For the third 20 Cardiff goalkeeper Stevie Lyle was given a rest in one of the final home games of his testimonial season, and it coincided with a slackening-off from the Devils.
Edinburgh scored two quick goals to give their travelling support something to cheer as Sean Menton and Ian Bowie found the net on 1.09 and 3.40.
The Capitals also defended a lot better throughout the period with Nathan Craze returning to the ice and putting in a much-improved second shift in goal.
Defenceman Martin Patrina made the scoreline more respectable with a fourth Edinburgh goal on 11.35, but the Devils finally started to put some pressure back on the Capitals’ goal before the end. Cardiff marked defenceman Mark Smith’s return after six months out with a serious shoulder injury with a comprehensive win which sets them up for a play-off quarter-final against Coventry Blaze or Braehead Clan.
The Devils face bottom-placed Fife Flyers in Scotland on Sunday before taking on Dundee Stars at home on Tuesday March 20. Clashes away and at home against Coventry Blaze next weekend complete the regular season, which Cardiff fans hope will end in play-off glory in Nottingham next month.