Ice Hockey: Title talk of the Devils

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The Independent Online
TODAY and tomorrow's British Championship finals at Wembley Arena may be without sponsors but the three games will still play to capacity crowds.

Cardiff Devils defend the title they won last year, beating Humberside Hawks 7-4 to take the domestic grand slam of league, Benson & Hedges Cup and championship. This year, having been beaten in the cup by Murrayfield Racers, they can do only the double. They face Scots again today in the shape of Fife Flyers.

Fife got off to a flier in the league and are one of the few teams to have beaten Devils, who lost just five league games all season, and in Mark Morrison and Doug Smail have two imports of genuine quality. But they were beaten in the scoring charts by Cardiff's Hilton Ruggles and Rick Brebant. Matters could be decided by the netminders, Jason Wood, of Devils, and Fife's John McCrone - both are capable of turning the game with big saves that inspire confidence in their team-mates.

The other semi-final pits Sheffield Steelers, coached by Alex Dampier who is the British coach, against Nottingham Panthers, his previous club.