CARDIFF Devils face two season-defining matches this weekend with a crucial league game against Dundee Stars followed by the Challenge Cup final against Sheffield Steelers.
The matches come after what will be a welcome full week off for the squad after a hectic February schedule. And Devils will be hoping they can see off Dundee Stars in the first match on Saturday, as their opponents currently sit bottom of the table.
It has been a torrid season for the Scottish side, as their playoff hopes were diminished despite winning three points from two matches over the weekend.Those results leave them 13 points behind eighth place Hull Stingrays, with just 12 available from the last six matches.
Devils have had anything but such disappointment, and heading into the final run of matches their hopes of a treble are still very much intact, even if Braehead Clan are firm favourites for the Elite League title. And former forward Chris Blight, who will line up for Stars, believes Devils will win at least one trophy before the end of the season, and took time to praise his old club’s efforts.
He said: “All teams should take note of the way Cardiff recruited and built their season. Andrew Lord has had an awesome seasons as head coach.” Following Saturday’s home match, Devils will then travel to Sheffield for the not-so-small matter of the Challenge Cup final. The match is the first in a series against Sheffield Steelers, as they play them again next Wednesday and in the penultimate match of the season. But many will argue Sunday’s final carries the greatest importance, as Devils look to secure their first major trophy since winning the competition in 2006.
Ahead of the match at the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, Devils player-coach Andrew Lord said: “I love the fact that we play Steelers in the final – that’s great for our league.” But Steelers will be no pushovers. They won the Elite League in 2004, 2009 and 2011, but never the Challenge Cup, and having home advantage they will be confident they can overcome Devils. Just like the Steelers, Devils have excelled in the tournament so far this season, and, being neck and neck in the league with Sunday’s opponents, this final could not be more difficult to call.