Ice Hockey: No disguising Devils' drive

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The Independent Online
WITH the Heineken championship play-offs half-way through their six-game schedule Cardiff Devils and Murrayfield Racers lead their respective tables with maximum points and are well on their way to Wembley, writes Steve Pinder.

Devils beat Whitley Warriors 9-6 on Friday for the benefit of the Grandstand cameras and then recorded their first home win of the season against Humberside Seahawks, 10-4. Seahawks had beaten Bracknell Bees 8-5 the day before - their first play-off victory in eight starts.

Racers had their TV glory yesterday, scoring three goals in 90 seconds against Nottingham Panthers early in the first period to take a 4-1 lead. Kevin Murphy responded by reorganising his first line, but although Simon Hunt vindicated his coach by completing a hat-trick at the start of the final period to reduce Racers' lead to 5-4, John Newberry scored the insurance goal with two minutes left.

In the Premier / Division One promotion / relegation play-offs Basingstoke Beavers advanced their claims to climb up a league by daring to shut out Durham Wasps 6-0. Somebody had to suffer and this time it was Swindon Wildcats, stung 17-2 by Wasps the next day. More importantly, Beavers gleaned another two points by beating Romford Raiders 10-4, and they, together with Sheffield Steelers, are alone with optimum points.

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