Sheffield Steelers prevented Cardiff from going to the top of the league and re-established their own authority in a hard-fought win at iceSheffield.
The home team, hit by injury and suspensions, had two imports turfed out of the game but defended brilliantly when the heat was on.
Goalie Marek Pinc showed his quality with his best game for the club.
Colton Fretter, back after a hernia op, was in the starting line-up, delivering a hefty check on Devils’ top man Joey Martin- an approach other Steelers then re-discovered an appetite for.
Steelers were without suspended Tyler Mosienko yet were bristling with offensive options. Brits Jason Hewitt and Rob Dowd were lively in raids on the visitors’ goal.
The Devils’ goal lived a charmed life early on, although there were glaring misses too with Jonathan Phillips and Fretter wasting opportunities .
It was ex-Devil Phillips, though, who opened the scoring, re-directing a shot from Cullen Eddy at 11;34.
D-man Jace Coyle almost doubled the lead, his shot hitting Ben Bowns’ post. Meanwhile Jeff Legue, a man on a mission, engineered a host of chances.
Devils have their own hot properties in Joey Martin, Andrew Lord and Andrew Hothman – all are in the top seven of League scorers – but they didn’t get a sniff in the opening 20 minutes.
Could Steelers – who needed overtime to beat Devils on the first day of this month – turn their domination into goals against a team a point away from topping the table?
In fact, it was Devils who re-discovered their mojo. Jake Morissette and Hothman pounded the puck into Pinc and a deflection off Leigh Salters also had to be gathered by the Czech minder.
Steelers lost Zack Fitzgerald, too. He was kicked out on a match penalty for checking from behind.
On the five minute power play, Pinc stopped a piledriver from Carl Hudson with the same player then hitting the side-netting.
Pinc then pulled off the best save of the night from Mark Richardson. It was a sensational penalty kill from a team statistically the worst in the league at it.
Steelers survived and struck a second, Levi Nelson hanging tough outside the crease to back hand home at 37;00. The winger was then ordered off for charging.
Martin clanged Steelers’ post on the power play as Steelers killed another long penalty.
The primary job was to shut the back door. Pinc caught a near post effort from Zach Hervato while both forwards and defence pulled their weight.
Devils gambled and pulled their netminder with Hudson scoring a scorcher at 57;03 but it was too late for the Welsh.