Title party for Devils

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The Independent Online
Cardiff Devils were last night crowned the inaugural Superleague champions. The Devils clinched the title by beating Manchester Storm 6-4 with two late goals to clinch their fourth British title in eight years.

Cardiff, who only needed one point to be certain of the trophy, gave their supporters in the 2,600 sell-out crowd at the National Ice Rink a succession of tense moments, but late strikes from Doug McCarthy and Ivan Matulik eventually let the fans launch the party.

The Devils' skipper, Mike Ware, collected the Superleague Trophy after seeing his side throw away the lead three times against an improved Storm side managed by the former Cardiff coach, John Lawless. Now Cardiff can set their sights on the double when the play-offs begin, as the eight Superleague sides battle it out to reach the final at Manchester's Nynex Arena at the end of March.

Manchester took the lead after just 33 seconds but Cardiff hit back with two quick goals from Matulik and Steve Moria. Ian Cooper and McCarthy scored the Devils' other two goals to see off Manchester, who equalised three times but were eventually worn down.