On a night when they absolutely needed a win, the Devils got their biggest victory of the season, winning 7-2 over the Coventry Blaze to advance to the next round of the Challenge Cup.
It was the visitors who scored first on a turnover in the neutral zone, Blaze forward Brett Robinson tipped the puck to Jordan Pietrus who broke in on Ben Bowns and somehow lifted the puck over the Devils netminder to make it 1-0 at 6:14.
The Devils tied the game at 17:39 when Joey Martin tipped in a Bryce Reddick shot after some great pressure in the Blaze zone with Andrew Hotham drawing the other assist.
Into the middle period and the Devils made it 2-1 on the powerplay when Paul Crowder banged in a rebound after a Matt Pope shot on goal at 26:53. But the Blaze came right back and at 28:29 when David Clements got the last chance to fire the puck past a sprawling Bowns to make it 2-2.
A check to the head at 30:12 by Blaze forward Brett Robinson on Devils’ Andrew Lord resulted in a 5+game penalty for Robinson. The ensuing powerplay turned the game around for the Devils. After killing off their own penalty, they had 3 minutes with the man advantage and they scored 3 times in less than 2 minutes to take a commanding lead. Andrew Hotham scored with a wraparound goal at 32:22 to make it 3-2, then Gleason Fournier fired a puck through traffic past Kevin Nastiuk to put the Devils up 4-2 at 33:00.
Captain Jake Morissette rounded off the powerplay scoring at 33:55 with the goal that put the Devils up 5-2 and chased starting netminder Kevin Nastiuk out of the goal to be replaced by Brython Preece for the rest of the game.
The Devils capped off their brilliant second period with one more goal, this time another one from Joey Martin, his 2nd of the game, at 37:35 to put the Devils up 6-2 after 40 minutes of play.
The final period saw another Devils goal at 42:21 from Layne Ulmer to finish off the scoring, making it 7-2 with just under 18 minutes to play. The Devils rode out the game and confirmed their spot in the next round of the Challenge Cup with the 7-2 victory.
Photo: Richard Murray