Convincing win by Red Devils in first game of double-header

The Canterbury Devils showed plenty of defensive grit and attacking flair to take down the Botany Swarm 10 goals to 3 at the Alpine Ice Sports Centre in the first of two games this weekend.

In the first period both teams got off to a cracking start with plenty of goals coming in the first 6 minutes.  The Devils scored first in the third minute when Banks let go a second big shot from the blue line which was picked up on the rebound by Nash and flicked into the net.  The Swarm responded in the 4th minute with a similar goal redirected by Ball around the goalies left pad from a strong shot by Hay right on the blue line.  On a power play in the sixth minute Lane made a long pass down the ice to Eaden who fired off a lighting shot which beat the Swarm goalie to take the Devils to a 2 – 1 lead.   Canterbury survived two penalties and in the 14th minute Eaden scored another well placed goal – left and low – from another assist by Banks.  A fourth goal for Canterbury came from a face-off when Delonge took a pass from Lane and the Swarm gaolie wasn’t able to hold a high shot which bounced out of his catcher.  The period ended with a spirited physical exchanges near the goal and a 4 – 1 score-line to the Devils.

The second period began with players from each team in the penalty box for roughing calls at the end of the first period and a goalie change for the Swarm (Giauque replaced by Froger).  Soon after play returned to five on five, Egan pounced on a slow pass from Banks, deftly flicking it over the goalie with a backhand shot giving the Devils a 5 – 1 lead.  Six minutes later the Swarm were reeling when the Devils scored again on a power play.  This time Banks took a big shot on goal from near the blue line, sending it between the goalies left glove and pad. Hectic stretches of play with penalties aplenty ensued before Eaden made his hat trick in the 15th minute on a turnover and counterattack rush from the Devils’ zone.  This shot was down low and to the right, finding the goalies five hole.   A consolation power play goal for the Swarm scored by Mitsionis, assisted by Ball amd Polosov rounded out the period with the Devils now leading by 7 goals to 2.  Shots on favoured the Swarm 24 to 8 in this period, but as well as excellent goal keeping,  strong marking by the Devils made it difficult for the Swarm to make a lot of clean shots.

The final period opened with a quick goal by the Devils scored off a bad attempt at clearing the puck behind the Swarm goal.  It was quickly grabbed by Delonge and passed across the goal mouth to Lane who made no mistake in putting it over the goalies right pad.  With the result now looking beyond doubt, play got a bit scrappy and the period wound down with an penalty goal scored by Apps for the Devils in the 46th minute during a storm power play, and a further quick fire goal from a pass by Kennedy which found Delonge in the open on the Swarm blue line from where he raced in and put the puck over the goalies right shoulder.  A late Swarm goal by Vortanov, assisted by Polosov saw the game end at 10 – 3 to the Devils.

Even with Canterbury out of contention for the championship this year, today’s game, and a similar performance tomorrow, will be a welcome step up for the Devils and certainly confirm that the rebuilding of the team is on track and looking promising for next season.

Game report by Geoff Bland