The Cardiff Devils fought back from 1-3 down and scored four unanswered goals to beat the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze 5-3 at Ice Arena Wales in the Elite League on Friday.
Blaze travelled to Cardiff without defenceman David Clements and forward Johnny Curran who are proudly representing Great Britain in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Canadian blue-liner James Shearer was also absent, but Ed Bradley was drafted in from the Bracknell Bees to guest and add depth to defence.
GB’s participation in Olympic Qualifying also meant their line-up was depleted with goalie Ben Bowns, defence pair Evan Mosey and Mark Richardson, and forwards Josh Waller and Ben Davies missing.
Former Devil Blake Thompson got the scoring started early, firing past Tyler Wall with just 49 seconds on the clock.
Shortly after, the home side thought they had tied the game on 2.18 but Tyler Busch’s effort was ruled out due to the puck being directed into the net with a high stick.
Coventry doubled their lead at 7.40 when associate Captain Ian McNulty diverted a Kobe Roth shot into the net for 0-2.
Cardiff got on the board with the only goal in the second period when Cole Sanford scored his team leading 22nd of the regular season at 25.11.
Blaze regained their two-goal advantage eight seconds into the final period through the skilled J.D. Dudek but the Devils hit back with three unanswered in the final 15 minutes to win the game.
Ryan Barrow was to make to make it 2-3 via a re-direction at 45.40 before Busch tied the game on a nice passing play at 48.57.
After Coventry spurned a third powerplay opportunity, veteran Joey Martin found the game-winner with 2.32 to play.
In a chase for an equaliser, former Devil Taran Kozun was pulled from the Blaze for the extra skater, but Sanford was to hit his joint league leading 23rd goal of the season into the empty net to wrap up an impressive comeback victory.
Photo credit: James Assinder