Manchester Storm 4 – 2 Cardiff Devils
Manchester Storm left it to late to beat their opponents on Saturday night, as two goals by Darian Dziurzynski lifted the Storm as 4-2 winners over the Cardiff Devils, in what was a highly competitive contest between two sides in the Challenge Cup.
In the opening stages it saw both goalies getting their catching mitt’s warm with early saves for the Storm’s Mike Clemente and Cardiff’s Ben Bowns keeping the forwards out early doors. The first penalty of the game came against Manchester’s player-coach Omar Pacha, a the Storm coach made a mistake at the back and led to him bring down the Devils forward for a tripping call and gave the Welsh side a power play opportunity. With over a minute gone on the Cardiff power play, it saw Patrik Valcak playing a quick pass up ice for Darian Dziurzynski and the Canadian forward saw his effort trickled under the pads of Bowns and into the Devils goal to see the Storm scoring shorthanded at 4:53.
Mark Heatley had a chance to double the lead for the hosts, when the former Bietstein Steelers man skating into the Cardiff zone saw the Storm braking away on a odd man rush and saw the attack come to nothing, as the Devils defended well. Cardiff were always knocking on the door of Clemente, but the Manchester goalie was in fine form and made some great saves to stop the Devils from levelling up. The game saw Cardiff’s recent signing in former NHL enforcer Patrick Borderleau making his presence felt out on the ice, as he laid a huge hit on Conor Varley that saw the Storm man hitting the ice hard and had the travelling ‘Red Army’ cheering the hit. Seconds later he went to repeat the trick again on Varley, but this time the defenceman just got out of the way and saw the former Colorado Avalanche man finding nothing but plexi much to home fans amusement.
During the period it saw plenty of chatter between the benches, and as the sides headed off for the first break still yapping at each other, it showed the competitive side of the two teams. Cardiff in the second session saw them edging the period and found Clemente in the Manchester nets a tough nut to crack, with the Devils getting frustrated with their efforts not finding a way by. Storm went close after a turnover in the Cardiff zone saw Omar Pacha throwing the puck on goal and having the rebound come out towards Heatley who then tried to prod home, but Bowns and his defence collapsed at the front of their net to stop any chance of a goal from happening.
Finally the Devils broke down the defences of the home side with a goal coming from Joey Haddad, as after Layne Ulmer saw his shot on goal padded down by Clemente, the rebound fell to the skates of the Cardiff forward who then turn in goalwards for a 1-1 game at 30:03 in the game. Storm restored their lead soon after on the power play through a Matt Bissonnette goal, after Mario Valery-Trabucco played a puck out at the front of the net for Darian Dziurzynski and when he played it slightly across Bowns, it saw Bissonnette on hand to help slam home for a 2-1 lead. Cardiff had been using their physical play to good effect and forced their way back into the contest, but felt like the Storm had used the Devils own emotions against them in the lead up the penalty with the visitors leaving gaps at the back with Cardiff being too aggressive on the penalty kill.
- Taken from Manchester Storm.com
Both sides came out for the third period all guns blazing and saw Clemente still making stunning saves to help preserve the home side’s lead. It seemed almost certain that their pressure would tell and it did as the Devils tied the game up at 47:51 to make it a 2-2 scoreline. Cardiff’s tying goal all started through goalscorer Gleason Fournier chasing down a loose puck down in the Storm end and saw him playing a little pass out towards Joey Haddad, who saw his effort cleared only as far as Sean Bentivoglio who controlled the puck with his skate and when the Storm couldn’t clear their lines, Fournier then fired through traffic to make it all square. With the game on a knife edge with just over three minutes remaining on the period, it saw Darian Dziurynzski redirecting a Trevor Johnson shot on target passed Ben Bowns to put Manchester back in front at 3-2 and see the Altrincham Ice Rink rocking.
With Cardiff pulling the goalie for the extra attacker as they went in search of a third tying goal in the game, it saw the home fans rallying behind their side for the final two minutes and had the Storm players feeding off that energy in the dying minutes. Mario Valery-Trabucco then cut out an attempted pass in the Manchester zone to see him playing in Darian Dziurzynski for an attempt to pick up a hat trick, but was denied, but after Cardiff’s Bentivoglio tried to clear the puck around the boards it stopped by Trabucco behind the empty net and he put it in the cage to seal the victory for a Storm at 59:55.
Manchester open up their League programme next weekend with a trip up at the Braehead Clan next Saturday night and then welcome the Coventry Blaze back to Altrincham in a Challenge Cup game on Sunday.