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Ice Hockey: Murrayfield are bedevilled by classy Cardiff

CARDIFF DEVILS won the first semi-final of the Heineken championship, 9-0, over Murrayfield Racers at Wembley last night to become the first team to record a shut-out in the championship.

After an initial testing period by both teams, Steve Cadieux scored an unassisted goal after nine minutes to break the deadlock. Two minutes later, Hilton Ruggles scored, then with five minutes of the period to go, Doug McEwen's rink-length dash was denied in the crease by John McCrone, who was guesting for Racers from Fife Flyers. But McEwen made amends a few minutes later when he picked up an Ian Cooper pass to put Devils 3-0 up to end the period.

The second period was more of the same. A Racers attack broke down, Shannon Hope leapt on the puck and fed Ruggles, who could not miss from the centre of the ice. McEwen, Ruggles and Cadieux made it 7-0 with ease and Racers' only two major efforts of the period were easily smothered by Jason Wood in goal.

Devils opened the third period with a continued assault on McCrone, who did at least prove his Great Britain status three times in the opening seven minutes with three saves of exceptional quality.

But not even he could prevent Cooper picking up a pass from Ruggles to make it 8-0 and to emphasise the fact that Racers' troubles came from the penalty box rather than on the ice. McEwen, with just over 90 seconds left, scored on a power-play goal to complete the historical occasion and Racers' misery.