At Cardiff, a pair of Devils goals less than 2 minutes apart near the end of the opening period of the Cup Quarter Final 2nd leg had the Flames in significant deficit the rest of the way while heading for a 6-2 defeat, 9-5 on aggregate, that eliminated Spectrum’s men from further Cup play. Jake Morissette opened the scoring to nudge the Devils out to a 4-3 aggregate lead at 10:41. He added his 2nd at 16:55 before Patrick Asselin’s marker just 97 seconds later had the visitors in a deep hole through a period; down 3 nothing on the night and 6 -3 combined. Both netminders were perfect in the middle frame so a 3 goal climb was the Flames challenge to start the 3rd. They got started with an early Brett Ferguson strike to cut the difference to a pair, but a reply by Sean Bentivoglio had the Devils 3 goal spread back in play, and all but removed any hopes of a comeback. Asselin’s 2nd of the contest a little more than 6 minutes out made it 5-1. John Dunbar cancelled that one out less than 4 minutes from time, but with the Flames net empty in favour of all hands on deck, Matt Pope scored into the empty net to complete the result.
“We felt confident going in that we would give the Devils a real run for that semi-final spot, so this is definitely disappointing,” admitted Assistant Coach Milos Melicherik.
“Those couple of goals at the end of the 1st really did the damage. In the 2nd we had a lot of pressure and really outshot them, but we just could not find the net. At that point we had to have cut the deficit to give ourselves a real crack at it in the 3rd.”
“We have to give credit to a high quality, experienced, Devils side who were ready to do exactly what they needed in order to move us aside, and they deserve their spot in the final 4.”
“We will move on from the bad feeling that comes with this kind of loss, and be able to look back on a pretty good opening Challenge Cup run over the past few months.”
“Like Milos said, it is a tough night because we wanted to be moving on,” echoed Head Coach Paul Dixon, “but Cardiff really stepped up and grabbed the spot, so congratulations to them.”
“Our guys can hold their head high for the effort we put into the group and advanced round. We can take the night to deal with this loss, and then we are back at training Thursday, and I know every one of them will come to the rink ready to make the best preparations we can for Saturday when Coventry visit.”