Ice Hockey: Devils stand the heat

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The Independent Online
JOHN LAWLESS, Cardiff Devils' player-coach, wrote in the club's programme before this weekend's European Cup quarter-finals: 'The whole game plan will be based on the three Ds - defence, discipline and desire.' Add a fourth D - for delight.

Facing two of the best clubs from Eastern Europe, Ukraine's Sokol Kiev and Torpedo Kamenogorsk, from Kazakhstan, as well as the hosts, Tilburg Trappers, Devils beat the first two to finish second in the four-team league and go to the semi-finals next month in Olomouc, in the Czech Republic. There they will play the hosts, Lada Togliatti, one of Russia's top sides and a third club from Denmark, Slovenia, Hungary or Romania.

Devils' first win was against Kiev, with Nicky Chinn opening the scoring and Hilton Ruggles's two making it 3-0 after just 20 minutes. Devils won 6-2 but man of the match was the Devils' minder, Steven Lyle, who held out for 41 minutes before conceding a goal. He is just 14 years old.

Lawless's tactic in playing the youngster was to save the first-string minder Jason Wood for Tilburg. Wood did play against Tilburg - for a minute. A head injury saw Lyle in again, this time for a 7-4 defeat.

But the win over Torpedo, seeded 10th in the European Cup, was a team triumph, 4-3, with Ruggles, Chinn and two Ian Cooper goals.