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|Playoff Group B|
23rd March 2005
|Referee: M Hanson|
|Match complete||Cardiff Devils|
|1 : 0 : 0 = 1||Goals||0 : 0 : 1 = 1|
|15 : 11 : 8 = 34||Shots||9 : 13 : 11 = 33|
|0 : 4 : 2 = 6||Penalties in Minutes||2 : 2 : 2 = 6|
Sheffield Steelers 1-1 Cardiff Devils
Steelers' Gerad Adams and Devils' Dave Matsos return to action after their injuries. Sheffield missing Gavin Farrand, Cardiff without Jonathon Phillips.
These sides posted a repeat scoreline of the game here at the Hallam FM Arena last Sunday, but the similarities ended there.
This time Sheffield came out of the blocks flying and it was no surprise when Mike Peron fired home high past Jason Cugnet's glove late in the first period. But John Craighead wristed home an equaliser through traffic with just 2 minutes 21 seconds left in the game. That was a little cruel on the home side, but Devils were always a danger throughout this one.
2572 fans were treated to a great game of hockey as Sheffield maintained a 'high tempo throughout the opening period. Devils John Cullen sped onto a chipped pass in the 4th minute but Platt padded the shot aside to his right. Sheffield's Marc Lefebvre skated end-to-end to test Cugnet, then Sheffield flashed a number of passes across the face of goal but Jeff Christian was unable to get the vital deflection.
Both sides were restricted to shots from the blue line before Mike Peron deflected home Erik Anderson's bullet pass from low on the right. Ref Moray Hanson ruled that the puck had been kicked in and that in any case Peron was stood in the goal crease. Three minutes later the same player opened the scoring, skating onto Dave Cousineau's pass from the right boards to net high (18:52).
In the dying seconds of the period Devils' NHLer Rob Davison drove the Sheffield goal to no avail.
Cardiff started the second brightly, but Lefebvre caused havoc in the 23rd minute. First he attempted a wrap-around from low on the left, then seconds later shot through traffic from the right. Les Millie and Ben Bliss both jumped on the rebound and Cugnet did well to keep them out.
Gerad Adams tangled with John Craighead for single minors a-piece and with the sides 4-on-4 Cardiff Russ Romaniuk fired in from the right but Platt came up with a big stop.
Adams burst through but fired wide, then Millie did well to get back and stop a Jeff Burgoyne breakaway. Then just before 31 minutes Matsos and Craighead combined well down low and John Cullen whipped in a ferocious shot from point-blank range. Platt got his shoulder in the way and the puck took a deflection off his helmet as Devils piled in for the rebound and ref Hanson whistled play down.
Five minutes later Platt made another superb stop from Nathan Rempel again at the back door, and another 30 seconds later Craighead hit the near post from the centre of the right circle.
The period ended with Mike Peron driving the Cardiff net.
There were few chances early in the final session but slowly but surely Devils began to work Platt. Rempel and Burgoyne forced good stops with Craighead once again piling in for the rebound from Cullen's shot.
Christian got away on a rare break but fanned on his attempt to slip the puck back to Anderson and instead Cugnet turned aside Christian's tame shot. Anderson and Christian again made Cugnet work as Devils struggled to penatrate the home zone, relying on Kirk DeWaele's big shots from the edge of the zone.
With less than 3 minutes remaining Matsos fired in from the left and again the bodies piled in but Platt held out then Cousineau forced Cugnet to save at full stretch.
Just as it seemed Sheffield would hold out Craighead wristed home through traffic from just right of centre (57:39), his first attempt blocked by the mass of bodies in front of him.
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