Ice hockey : Early effort provides dividends for Cardiff

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The Independent Online
After a month of nailbiting fixtures, the Superleague games at the weekend saw the closest margins of defeat as Cardiff Devils beat Manchester Storm 5-2 and Nottingham Panthers overcame Newcastle Cobras 3-1.

Devils' finishing in the first 20 minutes was the answer. With a one shot on goal advantage of 16 to 15, John Finnie scored four times for Cardiff while Storm's lone success came from Craig Woodcroft.

The second period saw George Swan increase Devils' lead and Storm fall out of contention with two players being awarded 10-minute penalties and Martin Smith a game misconduct. Their sole consolation was another Woodcroft goal. The third period was scoreless but the margin of 5-2 could have been greater if Devils had not lost Steve Thornton in the first with concussion and Steve Moria in the second to a knee injury.

Coupled with their 4-0 win over Ayr Scottish Eagles on Saturday, with Stevie Lyle deflecting 29 shots for the shut-out, Devils maintain their lead, followed by a Sheffield Steelers side four points behind in what is now a two-team race. Ayr, Newcastle and Nottingham are in contention for third place.