TICKETS: The Go Goodwin’s Manchester Storm are back in action on Boxing Day with a Gardiner Conference match up against the Dundee Stars. Face off is at 5.30pm and tickets can be ordered online, by calling the box office on 0161 926 8782, or in person at the box office
Your Go Goodwin’s Manchester Storm gave travelling fans an early Christmas present with a well-deserved 3-2 win over table-topping Cardiff Devils at Ice Arena Wales.
Storm travelled to the Welsh capital looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s Challenge Cup heartbreak, and they were again without the injured Patrik Valcak and Eric Neilson. In a further blow, Paul Phillips was also unable to make the trip, but reinforcements arrived in the shape of Rhys Harding and Sam Bryant.
Devils started the game on the front foot, pinning Storm in their own zone, but some resolute defensive play ensured that Cardiff were unable to fashion clear-cut chances.
The team grew into the first period, forcing Ben Bowns in the Devils net into some smart stops, including a point-blank save when Mark Heatley broke through shorthanded. Against the run of play, Chris Culligan gave Cardiff the lead with ten minutes played, leaving Storm chasing the game against the league leaders.
Storm continued to press, and when the Devils found themselves in penalty trouble as the period came to a close, captain Trevor Johnson found the bottom corner of Bowns’ net at 18:54 with a wicked shot from the point.
The second period started with flowing end-to-end hockey until Storm picked up consecutive penalties four minutes in. Devils set up camp in the Storm zone but were unable to find a way past an organised Storm defence and an inspired Mike Clemente.
Devils continued to press, but it was Storm who pounced late in the period to take the lead. Heatley won an offensive zone draw and fed Connor Varley, who shifted the puck sideways for Omar Pacha to shoot. Pacha’s shot fell kindly to Taylor Dickin who slid the puck past Bowns.
The final period started slowly but sprung into life seven minutes in when Darian Dziurzynski fed Mario Trabucco who rocketed the puck high into the Cardiff net to give the Storm a two-goal cushion.
As the home side pressed, Storm again found themselves in the penalty box, and although a brief 3-on-5 penalty kill was navigated successfully, Gleason Fournier was able to reduce the deficit to one with a missile from the blue line, with Clemente unsighted by traffic in front.
Cardiff pushed for an equaliser but the Storm defence held firm, restricting Devils to just seven shots in the whole final period. At 58:42 Bowns scampered off the ice for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail.
Storm’s first ever EIHL win in Cardiff moves the team above Fife Flyers in the table and within touching distance of Braehead Clan and Nottingham Panthers, and provides a huge boost ahead of a testing festive fixture list.
Storm host the Dundee Stars on Boxing Day before travelling to Belfast to face the Giants on Wednesday 28th December. Then there is the small matter of a home-and-home weekend against Roses rivals the Sheffield Steelers, with a New Year’s Eve match in Sheffield followed by the New Year’s Day spectacular at the Storm Shelter. This match sold out last year and there are sure to be fireworks, so make sure you get your tickets early!