Ice Hockey: Hanson keeps Devils at bay: Defensive security gains Racers an overdue trophy

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The Independent Online
MURRAYFIELD RACERS won the Benson & Hedges Cup, beating the holders, Cardiff Devils 6-2 thanks to the sagacity of their coach Rocky Saganiuk and a display of goal- tending by Moray Hanson that should put him back in contention for the British side. Britain could do worse than take up Saganiuk's offer of assistance.

The last time the two sides met was in April at Wembley in the Heineken Championship semi-final, which Devils won 9-0. Saganiuk had learnt from the bitter experience and set out to win the cup with defence paramount and goals coming on the break.

It worked superbly with Paul Pentland and the veteran Paul Hand in particular screening Hanson and breaking up every Devils attack. Pentland was also busy up front, opening the scoring after 10 minutes with a goal from Chris Palmer's pass.

Palmer made it 2-0 a minute later and Tony Hand belied a Cardiff chant of 'He shoots, he misses, he must be Tony Hand' with the third, three minutes from the end of the first period.

At the other end a sign it was not going to be Devils day came when Hilton Ruggles had three free shots on Hanson and was denied three times by superb blocking.

The second period remained scoreless and Racers finished the job in the third through Lindsey Lovell, Tony Hand and Palmer. With three minutes to go, Nicky Schinn broke Hanson's shut-out followed by Rick Brebant but it was all too late and Racers picked up their first major trophy for four years.

The Cup final was preceded by an all-star challenge match, North v South. The South won 14-13 with the game decided by penalties after the score was tied 11-11 at full-time.

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