Ice Hockey: Cardiff crowned after Chinn does wonders: Wealthy Steelers are struck down by Devils' greater finesse in the British Championship final

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The Independent Online
NICKY CHINN became the first player to score four goals in the final of the British Championships yesterday as Cardiff Devils retained the title here by beating Sheffield Steelers 12-1.

Cardiff first won the championship in 1990, amid accusations from the more 'established' sides that they had bought success through the chequebook. Therefore their fans took delight in taunting the 2,000 Steelers supporters with 'What a waste of money', since Steelers have now taken over the role of the team everyone accuses of buying success. But the real point is that the two sides in the final were unborn when the championships were played at Wembley in 1983 for the first time. There is a new order about.

Hilton Ruggles opened the scoring for Devils, as he did in Saturday's semi-final against Fife Flyers, won 9-5 by Devils. This time he took 126 rather than 10 seconds. Rick Brebant made it 2-0 and Ruggles 3-0 as Steelers gave away stupid penalties.

This gave Chinn his chance to grab centre stage. Either side of the interval the right wing scored two goals in fine style, dashing first from the blue line and secondly from the half-way line to make it 5-0 to Cardiff.

Brebant made it 6-0 and, with eight minutes of the second period gone, Ian Cooper, in a rare appearance out of the penalty box, made it 7-0. Steelers eventually scored through Scott Neil.

Chinn flies to Italy to join the world championship squad tomorrow and probably did his chances of lengthy service no harm, scoring the eighth from the blue line three minutes into the final period, followed by a pass for Doug McEwen to score the ninth.

Chinn and McEwen made it 11-1 but with two minutes to go Devils rubbed Steelers' noses in it as their coach, John Lawless, put on his most junior line. Seventeen-year-old Richard Townsend claimed the glory of the final goal. Devils have grown away from the chequebook and can ice youngsters who have grown into maturity under Lawless's tutelage.

Ruggles scored three times in Saturday's 9-5 semi-final victory over Fife Flyers. Devils effectively won the match in the first period, which opened with Ruggles scoring after just 10 seconds. That seemed to unnerve Fife but they performed better in the second period. Then Ruggles repeated his early scoring trick in the third, finding the net in six seconds for his third goal. Steelers beat Nottingham Panthers 8-0 in the other semi-final.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 35