Ice Hockey: Sympathy for the Devils: Flyers down Cardiff

CARDIFF DEVILS' record of 18 successive Premier Division wins disappeared in dramatic fashion at Fife Flyers on Sunday, writes Steve Pinder. The score was 1-1 at the end of the first period but, at the end of the second, Fife led 4-2 - still an assailable lead.

However, Flyers took off in the final 20 minutes, sweeping Devils aside with eight unanswered goals that raised serious questions about Devils' lack of strength in depth.

The next day Cardiff travelled to Murrayfield Racers, where Chris Palmer opened the scoring for Racers before a Rick Brebant hat-trick gave Cardiff the lead. Four unanswered goals in the second period helped the Welsh side to a 9-4 win; they remain top, 16 points clear of Racers and Flyers.

Racers lost 9-5 on Saturday to Nottingham Panthers, who stretched their unbeaten run to eight games. It fell the following night against Whitley Warriors in a bad-tempered game. Warriors knocked in five without reply in the first period, Panthers pulled back to 8-7 down but a Simon Leach strike spoiled their revival and an empty-net goal in the final second from David Longstaff, who ignored the fights breaking out around him, gave Warriors a 10-7 win.

In the First Division, a shock came at Streatham Redskins, bottom of the Southern Conference, who entertained the leaders, Slough Jets. Four goals from Shawn Lavoy helped Redskins to a 6-1 lead with 12 minutes to go, and they skated off 8-2 winners.