by Robert Jones
CARDIFF Devils host league leader rivals Sheffield Steelers in Saturday night’s Elite Ice Hockey League contest at the Viola Arena in Cardiff.
The Devils head into the game off the back of a double header in Scotland that saw Andrew Lord’s side suffer a 5-1 defeat to the Fife Flyers before a convincing 4-2 win over Dundee Stars.
For the Steelers it was a 4-2 away defeat to the Guilford Flames, meaning the gap between the two is just four points with the home side having four games in hand.
Both squads have been in great form throughout the 2019/20 league campaign, but the Devils will be especially confident after their 3-2 away win at Sheffield in the lone match up this season.
So far the Steelers have nine wins which includes one in overtime and five losses, while the Devils have won seven and lost only three.
Speaking to Devils TV ahead of the game, coach Lord said: “We’ve played them once away which I don’t think was a great game overall.
I think both teams were a little sloppy at times, but they’ve obviously found their form and it will be a really good test for us.”
The Steelers pose a formidable attack in the shape of Robert Dowd and Marc-Olivier Vallerand, who have contributed to 19 goals together with Dowd leading the league on 10.
For the home side, Joey Haddad is the leading goal scorer with seven goals and could be key to another victory over the Steelers.
The Devils are known for their exciting brand of hockey, which Lord believes is key to the team’s identity: “I want us to play an up tempo style for our fanbase and I think players are attracted to that style.”
“Its fun for players to play that style, and it helps bring good players here knowing we play that way.”
The game gets underway at 19:00 at the Viola Arena Cardiff.