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19th November 2006
|Referee: N Boniface|
|Match complete||Cardiff Devils|
|0 : 1 : 2 = 3||Goals||1 : 0 : 0 = 1|
|12 : 12 : 15 = 39||Shots||12 : 7 : 11 = 30|
|10 : 0 : 6 = 16||Penalties in Minutes||6 : 4 : 39 = 49|
Sheffield Steelers 3-1 Cardiff Devils
Sheffield missing Regan Darby (leg injury), Cardiff's Brad Voth serving a one match suspension.
3942 saw Sheffield beat Cardiff for the second time this season in this very evenly-matched and fast-paced game.
The turning point came at 45:37 when Dan Tessier's shot from the left deflected straight to Shaun Sutter 8 feet out and he duly put Sheffield ahead for the first time with what proved to be the game winner. Mark Smith talked his way to a 10 minute misconduct as the players skated back to centre ice and realistically Cardiff's hopes went with him.
A determined late push when Smith returned was thwarted when Jason Hewitt muscled his way down the left and sold goalie Phil Osaer a beautiful dummy before wrapping the puck home behind him (59:00).
Earlier Devils had snatched the lead 7 seconds from the first interval with Max Birbraer's strike (19:53), with Ben Gustavson replying midway through the second.
Dave Ianazzo drifted across the top of the slot in the first minute but Jody Lehman turned the shot aside. At the other end Tessier's drop pass saw Osaer blank Phil Hill and with Sutter at the crease the ensuing scramble brought roughing penalties for Hill and Lukas Komarek.
Paul Sample also took a roughing penalty 31 seconds later but Devils worked hard to block out the shots and Osaer didn't have a save to make.
Back at even strength, Devils' Nathan Rempel and Russ Cowley forced stops and with the game going end-to-end Tessier found Osaer's glove.
Teplitsky was forced to take another penalty as Hill went for the rebound from Sarich's right point shot, but again the home side failed to test the keeper on the powerplay.
Hill put a golden chance wide, then a minute later Warren Tait gave Devils their first powerplay. Devils looked much sharper but only Smith forced a save (from the right). Just as the powerplay ended Dion Darling's shot whistled just wide and Sheffield broke away down the right, with Maltby forcing a save.
Sutter tried his luck soon after but Cardiff gained the momentum when Lehman fired the puck out rushing out of his goal and then 19 seconds later Tessier took a cross-checking penalty for 101 seconds of 5-on-3 powerplay.
Birbraer missed a sitter at the back post and Lehman made a superb double-save from Nathan Rempel and Smith. Smith forced another save and with Sheffield back at full strength Ianazzo and Sample kept Lehman busy.
With Cardiff pushing hard, Ian Manzano took a hooking penalty behind his own net with just 12 seconds of the period remaining. Smith beat Tessier on the draw and Teplitsky's shot was re-directed home by Birbraer (19:53).
Gerad Adams's interference penalty put the home side back on the powerplay. This time Osaer denied Shane Johnson and Manzano with Mark Thomas finding the goalie's glove with the rebound to Jonathon Phillips' right wing shot.
Mark Richardson drove the left post but failed to get a shot away with Brett Clouthier announcing his presence with a blast from the left wing. A minute later the same player fired wide after Phillips burst down the left.
With Sheffield pressing hard Gustavson wrapped the puck home at the left post (28:46).
Adams and Sutter put chances wide either side of a Hill snapshot from the left.
Mark Richardson's holding penalty saw Sarich fire in from the right and, with the goalie buried underneath players in the resulting scramble, play continued but the goalie recovered in time to see Sutter fire wide across the goal from close in.
Back at even strength Clouthier saw his right wing shot blanked. From the face-off Ianazzo got away down the left and ended up in a heap with Lehman and Sarich. From the face-off Lehman turned aside Ianazzo's shot.
But the period ended with the home side on top as Hill failed to connect with Sutter's cross-ice pass and Clouthier drilled a shot in from the left wing.
Steelers continued to have the upper hand early in the third. Twice Manzano shots were turned aside, the second one falling to Clouthier on the doorstep but he put the chance wide.
Lehman did well to turn aside Rempel's smart shot from the left, and when Birbraer took a hooking penalty 24 seconds later Steelers helped themselves to the game-winner. Osaer turned aside shots from Johnson and Sarich but he stood no chance with Sutter's crisp finish from 8 feet (45:37).
With Smith sitting a misconduct, Devils went in search of an equaliser. Cowley drilled a shot into Lehman's chest from the right and Sample also forced a save, Johnson taking an interference penalty on the play.
Devils failed to test Lehman and 16 seconds before Johnson returned Hill joined him in the box for flattening Birbraer on the doorstep.
From the face-off Ianazzo tried to squeze the puck inside the near left post but Tessier got away to test Osaer and relieve the pressure.
With 10 minutes remaining the home side were on top, Maltby, Manzano and Hill all working the Devils goalie and Hill put another chance wide.
Gustavson shot from the left and Hewitt got to the crease to force 3 saves before the Osaer froze the puck, Darling taking a holding penalty in the process. But the powerplay was lost 14 seconds later when Johsnon went for roughing after Devils cleared the puck.
That was the signal for Devils final push. 7 minutes remained when Teplitsky fired a shot from the left but despite their efforts only Jason Stone and Cowley tested Lehman.
With less than 3 minutes left Sutter and Maltby both forced saves against the run of play, but with the ever-dangerous Smith in the thick of it Devils couldn't find a way through.
Hewitt won a tussle on the halfway line and muscled past 3 payers before wrapping the puck home, and Devils were beaten at last.
Birbraer's check from behind on Hill saw him despatched with a 5+game with 37 seconds remaining.
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