Sheffield Steelers dumped out of Challenge Cup by rampant Cardiff Devils

Cardiff Devils had to wait 718 days to get their own back over Steelers.

Thursday, 24th February 2022, 9:38 am

But that they certainly did, at Sheffield Arena on Wednesday night.

In March 2020, Sheffield had won the Challenge Cup on Cardiff's home pad.

It's taken this long for Devils to gain revenge - but they did it by eliminating a below-par Sheffield at this season's semi-final, with a 5-0 shutout victory.

Tanner Eberle flattens an opponent Pic Dean Woolley

Add this victory to two other Cardiff wins in South Yorkshire, and it's not a good look.

Sheffield coach Aaron Fox said it was: "One of the uglier hockey games I have been a part of with this organisation.

"Five individual mistakes, that we have not been making, bad decisions...all ended up in the back of our net.

"It really wasn't us."

Rok Stojanovic beaten Pic Dean Woolley.

He said it was now back to the goals that were attainable for his side - the League and the Play Offs.

"I have 19 guys whose hearts are in the right place," he said.

"But we made the worst possible mistakes on the worst possible night."

Devils, shoot-out winners at Sheffield in the league on Sunday, will now go to Belfast Giants for the Final.

Cardiff thoroughly enjoyed their trip to Sheffield Pic Dean Woolley.

They bossed much of the first period against a surprisingly gaffe-prone home side.

There were too many giveaways and miscommunication between the Steelers' players, who really looked like they were missing injured Marco Vallerand.

Justin Hodgman's error at 14:09 led to the opening goal from Brodie Reid.

And Devils had a man over at 18:39, with Josh Batch free to slam the puck past Rok Stojanovic for 2-0.

Stojanovic's opposite number Mac Carruth enjoyed another solid period at Sheffield Arena, glove-saving and scrapping for the puck anywhere near his crease.

But he didn't have to do all that much, in all honesty.

Sheffield had tried stretch passes and speed-skates down the ice, but Devils' ferocious forecheck simply suffocated them.

In fact, the Welsh would have been three up in the early stages had Stojanovic not saved Reid from point-blank range.

They didn't have to wait too long to strike again.

Steelers struggled throughout a wretched 0-3 middle period.

Cardiff's speedy transition brought about a Trevor Cox third at 26:45.

And Daine Todd coughed the puck up near his own bench, allowing a two-on-one in which Reid collected his second of the night.

Coach Fox brought on Barry Brust to send a signal out to his waning troops.

Davey Phillips then gifted the puck to the visitors and Josh Waller thoroughly embarrassed Sheffield with a goal making the 0-5 scoreline.

Sheffield players, when they weren't shaking their heads or complaining to the officials, set off on wild-goose chases ending only in running the clock down for Devils.

It's doubtful any of the 5,571 midweek crowd expected anything meaningful in the last session.

Their club's pushback amounted to a few hits on the boards and a few shots off target.

Devils were content to ice the puck and collapse their defence if any threat was posed.

Job done - a third win on Sheffield ice for Cardiff.