Devils show­ing spe­cial form in Elite ti­tle bid

South Wales Echo - - SPORT -

SPE­CIAL teams are play­ing a big role for Cardiff Devils in their Elite League ti­tle quest.

Devils stand top of the ta­ble – and are num­ber one when it comes to pow­er­play and penalty kill.

Coach An­drew Lord’s team lead the league’s pow­er­play stats on 20.86 per cent and have the best penalty-kill record on 89.74.

They are also lead­ing goalscor­ers in the top flight with 112 so far.

Joey Martin is Cardiff’s lead­ing in­di­vid­ual scorer on 34 points (11 goals, 23 as­sists), while de­fence­man An­drew Hotham, who was man of the match in both Devils matches last week­end, is on 28 (7+21).

Sean Ben­tivoglio (9+18=-27), Gul­laume Doucet (13+12=25) and Layne Ulmer (8+17=25) are other Devils among the lead­ing league scor­ers.

Belfast Gi­ants are visi­tors to Ice Arena Wales tonight (7pm) for Cardiff’s only match of the week­end and the match is al­ready a 3,000-plus sell­out.

Devils have at­tracted ca­pac­ity at­ten­dance for four suc­ces­sive matches in Cardiff Bay as their ti­tle chal­lenge builds.

Op­po­nents Belfast are se­cond and they have been in good form, win­ning nine of their last 11 games to stay in touch with Devils and climb above third-placed Sh­effield Steel­ers.

Gi­ants trailed Cardiff by 13 points at the start of De­cem­ber, but their run of suc­cess has moved Belfast back into ti­tle con­tention, five points be­hind Devils on level games.

Gi­ants player-coach Der­rick Walser says his team’s ti­tle chal­lenge will re­main alive what­ever hap­pens in Satur­day’s game with four fur­ther con­tests be­tween the teams tak­ing place be­fore the end of the cam­paign.

The ri­vals clash twice of the last week­end of the League sea­son dur­ing March when Devils are at home to Gi­ants on suc­ces­sive nights at the IAW arena.

Cardiff will be with­out for­ward Pa­trick Borde­leau, who is serv­ing a one game sus­pen­sion, but both teams are ex­pected to be at full strength apart from that.

Tom Dar­nell will ref­eree the game with Lee Young and Ben Con­nolly as lines­men.

Third in the ta­ble Sh­effield edged closer to the top two thanks to a 5-2 win against the Ed­in­burgh Cap­i­tals at IceSh­effield in mid­week.

Devils play only one fix­ture this week­end, while they take on Coven­try Blaze away on Satur­day, Jan­uary 21, be­fore en­ter­tain­ing Sh­effield the fol­low­ing evening (6pm).

Ticket in­for­ma­tion is avail­able from the club’s of­fi­cial web­site or by ring­ing 0800 0842 666.

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