Ice Hockey: Cardiff overcome lack of creativity

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The Independent Online
Cardiff Devils won the inaugural Benson and Hedges Cup, beating Whitley Warriors 10-4 at the Sheffield Arena in a final that sadly lacked lustre.

Neither side seemed able to lift themselves and they were hardly helped by a crowd of 5,000 who half-filled the Arena. Steve Cadieux, of the Devils, opened the scoring after three minutes. The Warriors replied two minutes later with two in 20 seconds and everyone's hopes were raised.

Wrongly as it turned out. Cadieux equalised with five minutes of the period remaining and the second period started very much as the first finished, neither side showing the flair or creativity that had got them to the final in the first place.

The Warriors went ahead 3-2 half-way through the game. David Longstaff scored on a five-on- three play, while Cadieux enjoyed a 12-minute absence thanks to an attempted spearing joined to a 10- minute misconduct penalty.

Nicky Chinn and Ian Cooper picked up the tempo to give the Devils a 4-3 lead at the end of the period. Three minutes into the final period the Devils were 6-3 ahead and at last some flashes of skill became apparent. Claude Dumas pulled one back for the Warriors and then the Devils seemed to remember why they head the league, scoring their last four in just under seven minutes to lift the season's first trophy.

The third period also saw one of ice hockey's rarest penalties. The Warriors' bench lodged an objection to the Devils' Hilton Ruggles' stick, claiming it was illegal in length. If true, he would have been in the sin bin for two minutes. It was not and the Warriors lost a player for two minutes instead, a ruling to stop spurious stick objections. It summed up the game.

Earlier in the day Milton Keynes Kings won the Benson and Hedges Trophy, a competition for those clubs not involved in the Cup, beating Solihull Barons 11-4.

BENSON AND HEDGES CUP: Cardiff Devils 10 Whitley Warriors 4. BENSON AND HEDGES TROPHY: Milton Keynes Kings 11 Solihull Barons 4.