Five Things We Learned: The return of the Devils

Standing room only: Cardiff Devils debuted their new standing section on Saturday (PHOTO: Dave Williams)

Have a look at what caught our eye this weekend as the dust settles on a busy weekend of action.

1.  Cardiff Devils return to their familiar ways

With a new standing section designed to improve the atmosphere at the Viola Arena and two big wins across the weekend, talk of Cardiff Devils’ demise has been greatly exaggerated.

Sure, we’re loving the surprises and upsets that have come from some of the results, but if anyone thought that Cardiff were going to let any further slips happen, they were mistaken.

Much better displays from their players, not to mention the return of their captain Joey Martin and it was the perfect storm for Andrew Lord’s team to bounce back and in style.

The return of the CHL is looming where they’ll take on Frolunda Indians, the holders and any momentum they can get ahead of that game will give them what they need.

Fife’s defeat of Belfast on Sunday threw up another surprise Challenge Cup result (PHOTO: Fife Flyers)

2.  The Challenge Cup will go the distance in all groups

We’ve seen quite a spread of results in the Challenge Cup and looking at the tables now, it’s really hard to see where the eight quarter finalists are going to come from.

Group A, which features the Scottish teams and holders Belfast Giants, has four games left to play and you couldn’t put a piece of tracing paper between them, with the group set to end a week on Saturday.

The two three-team pools are much the same with surprise results coming up and between two and four points between top and bottom, it’s going to keep us guessing right to the end.

It’ll be a fascinating few weeks as the qualification issues start to sort themselves out and we could yet see another one or two twists along the way.

Glasgow head back to their home arena on the back of four straight wins (PHOTO: Panthers Images)

3.  Glasgow Clan’s road trip has put them in a good place

For Zack Fitzgerald’s men to end the month of September – a month where they have to play their games on the road traditionally – with four straight wins and top of the Elite League table is great going.

The mood among the fans compared to the end of August when Clan lost their opening two games against Dundee Stars has swung entirely the other way.

Just in time as Glasgow come home this weekend for their first game in five weeks against Fife Flyers, which will be a Challenge Cup tie.

But to be perched at the summit is a good reward for a team that looks good on paper as the new and old components look to finally be gelling.

Martin St Pierre left Sheffield Steelers last week (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

4.  Sometimes things don’t work out

Disappointing to see Martin St Pierre, a man with one of the most impressive CVs, leave the Elite League prematurely ending his stay with Sheffield Steelers.

When he was signed, fans were instantly excited given his career and pedigree that he brought to the league, but for some reason, it just didn’t work out for him.

Steelers moved quickly to bring in Lucas Sandstrom to replace him and will hope he’ll hit the ground running in a way St Pierre sadly couldn’t.

In the end, you could be the best player in the world, but all moves are gambles and if things don’t work out, they don’t work out and it won’t be long before St Pierre will be banging them in.

It’s been a tough start in the NIHL National League for Leeds Chiefs and coach Sam Zajac (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

5.  Tough times at Leeds

Staying in Yorkshire, if Leeds Chiefs coach Sam Zajac wasn’t certain of the challenge he faced in the NIHL National League as they still look for a first win.

He’s still seeing positive things from his team, which in itself is a positive, so it’s not like it’s been a complete disaster, but as he’s acknowledged, there is still work to do.

The fans will be counting the weeks until they can find a place they can call home and every game is a new experience as they continue to find their way.

The win will come, but it’s been a steep learning curve and with another tough trip to come this weekend as they head to Peterborough Phantoms, then the education will continue for the Chiefs.

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