Cardiff Devils 4-3 Nottingham Panthers (OT)
The Cardiff Devils produced a stunning comeback from 3-1 down to beat the Nottingham Panthers thanks to Andrew Lord’s overtime winner on a dramatic night in the Big Blue Tent.
A small group of Devils fans gathered outside the arena for the entirety in protest against the club’s owner Paul Ragan and coach Brent Pope, but it was the fans inside who inspired their side to a 4-3 victory.
With six minutes to go and facing a two-goal deficit the Devils looked like recording their first loss in four in the league until goals from Mac Faulkner and Tomas Kurka forced the extra five minutes. Less than two minutes into overtime Andrew Lord found himself in space in front of goal and hammered home the winner.
The Panthers had taken the lead through Joe Grimaldi, whose long range effort had made its way through the crowd and squirmed past Devils’ keeper Kamil Kosowski. The Devils enjoyed some early pressure and finally made it pay as Max Birbraer’s speculative effort arrowed into the corner of the net at the end of the first period.
Jonathan Boxhill regained the lead of the visitors in the first minute of the second period and, after the Devils squandered several good chances, made it 3-1 on the half hour mark. Sloppy play from the hosts allowed Lynn Loyns to break one-on-one and he made no mistake.
The game appeared to be petering out when Faulkner bundled the puck past the Panthers keeper and all of a sudden the home crowd found their voice. With the noise building it was Faulkner who provided the assist this time for Kurka to sweep home and lift the roof off the Big Blue Tent.
The momentum had completely swung in the hosts the favour as Andrew Lord received the puck from the left, steadied himself and fired the Devils to their fourth league win in four.
The Devils move to within a point of seventh-place Coventry, and face the Panthers again tomorrow in Nottingham. Dave Whistle will return as coach in the absence of Brent Pope who is making the trip to Sochi for the Winter Olympics.