Sheffield Steelers started their new season last night with a 4-2 victory over a talented Swedish second-division side.
Paul Thompson's men left the best to last in the not-so 'friendly' game - scoring twice in the last two and a half minutes.
It says something about their conditioning and will.
And it was a night of absolute triumph for the Dowd-Valdix-Nelson unit, who scored all the important goals.
The only downside was a couple of injuries. But in a high-tempo game, 'friendly' or not, you have to put up with that.
Södertälje SK made the early running - but an extraordinary cock up saw them fail to open the scoring.on three minutes.
Nicklas Heinero and Jacob Spangberg both went for a tap-in on an empty net, but got in each other's way.
While Zack Fitzgerald had the first Steeler shot of the season, gloved over, the Swedes, fast and physical on the forecheck, found it easy to create openings.
The iceSheffield crowd warmed quickly to new boy Brady Ramsay who was effective on the fourth line and tough, resolute defenceman Joonas Ronnberg.
Sheffield went ahead when Andreas Valdix got the puck deep, Levi Nelson picked out Robert Dowd and the Brit lashed it home at 13:47.
Four minutes later, a turnover in Steelers own zone saw Thomas Valkva Olsen whip in an equaliser.
With 14 seconds left of the opening period, Steelers first line hit the post, and busy centreman Jonas Westerling just failed to stick the rebound under goalie George Sorensen.
The visitors took the lead when Valkva Olsen drove in from the left and shot over Ervins Mustukovs' glove hand to collect the second of the night at 25;04.
Steelers almost hit back when Mathieu Roy won the puck in his zone played a one-two with John Armstrong and forced a fine save from Sorensen.
The home side suddenly showed a welcome physical side.
Colton Fretter dropped the gloves after being caught in the face and Fitzgerald threw monster hits on Heinero and Spangberg.
But in the last minute of the period, skipper Jonathan Phillips suffered a facial injury on the boards, probably from the butt-end of Liam Kirk's stick.
The ice was visibly deteroriating in the super-warm building.
But Armstrong made light of the conditions with a counter attack on the penalty kill, forcing a decent save.
And a few minutes later he sent a firm shot into the goalie's shoulder padding.
Steelers got the leveller they deserved through hard work - and predatory finishing of Levi Nelson at 47;17, with Dowd assisting.
Warrior Roy, such a competitor even in a friendly, dropped the gloves for a punch up with Sebastian Owuya at the Swedish bench with 10 minutes remaining.
And Fitzgerald helpfully motioned a "cut throat" gesture to Owya as he sat in the bench.
The American d-man left the ice with six minutes left after picking up an injury on the boards.
At 57;34, Steelers mounted a frantic surge on the opposition goal and in the flurry of body and sticks just outside the crease, Nelson scored their third of the night.
The Swedes pulled their goalie in the remaining two minutes and paid for it with an empty net goal from Ben O'Connor.
Saturday 12th August
Nottingham Panthers 1 Cardiff Devils 3
Sheffield Steelers 4 Sodertalje sk (Sweden) 2
Sunday 13th August
Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers – 6.00pm
Sheffield Steelers v Sodertalje sk (Sweden) – 5.00pm @ Ice Sheffield
Saturday 19th August
Cardiff Devils v Braehead Clan – 7.00pm
Nottingham Panthers v Krefeld Pinguine (Germany) – 7.00pm
Sheffield Steelers v Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany) – 7.00pm @ Ice Sheffield
Sunday 20th August
Cardiff Devils v Krefeld Pinguine (Germany) – 6.00pm
Nottingham Panthers v Braehead Clan – 4.00pm
Sheffield Steelers v Nuremberg Ice Tigers – 5.00pm @ Ice Sheffield
Wednesday 23rd August
Coventry Blaze v Manchester Storm – 7.30pm
Thursday 24th August
Champions Hockey League
SC Bern (Switzerland) v Nottingham Panthers – 6.45pm
HC Davos (Switzerland) v Cardiff Devils – 6.45pm
Saturday 26th August
Belfast Giants v Manitoba Bisons (Canada) – 7.00pm
Braehead Clan v Lowen Frankfurt (Germany) – 7.00pm
Fife Flyers v EC Kassel Huskies (Germany) – 7.15pm
Milton Keynes Lightning v Coventry Blaze – 5.15pm
Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm – 7.00pm
Champions Hockey League
Bili Tygri Liberec (Czech) v Cardiff Devils – 2.30pm
Mountfield HK (Czech) v Nottingham Panthers – 5.00pm
Sunday 27th August
Belfast Giants v Manitoba Bisons (Canada) – 4.00pm
Braehead Clan v Lowen Frankfurt (Germany) – 6.00pm
Coventry Blaze v Milton Keynes Lightning – 5.15pm
Fife Flyers v Kassel Huskies (Germany) – 6.30pm
Manchester Storm v Sheffield Steelers – 5.30pm
Tuesday 29th August
Edinburgh Capitals v Manitoba Bisons (Canada) – 7.30pm
Wednesday 30th August
Manchester Storm v Coventry Blaze – 7.30pm
Thursday 31st August
Braehead Clan v Manitoba Bisons (Canada) – 7.30pm
Champions Hockey League
Cardiff Devils v Bili Tygri Liberec (Czec) – 7.00pm
Nottingham Panthers v Mountfield HK (Czech) – 7.00pm