Consistency remains as frustratingly elusive as ever, for Sheffield Steelers.
Despite a goal from fit-again marksman Stefan Meyer at Cardiff last night – and following Saturday’s decent home victory – they went down in a close-fought battle in South Wales.
Victory would have got them into second place behind leaders Belfast Giants.
But Devils, who had only had four regulation time wins in 16 previous attempts, cashed in on late opportunities.
Cardiff, who had won 4-1 the previous evening in Hull, are a club anxious to get away from the wrong end of the table. And they are past-masters at catching teams cold on their ice pad.
Cardiff opened the scoring after three minutes. Mac Faulkner got the decisive touch after a move featuring Tomas Kurka and Chris Blight.
Steelers, with Phil Hill icing against his early season employers but without Rob Dowd and Dustin Kohn, deservedly levelled 14 minutes later. Their No 10, Meyer, back after a troublesome injury, reminded Steeler fans of what they missed during the four games he was absent, when he slotted home on a move inititiated by his goaltender Frank Doyle.
Steelers again outshot their hosts in the second session, but neither side could find any advantage on the scoreboard.
You got the feeling that the first Power Play goal of the night would settle it.
But with three minutes to go Canadian Jake Morrisette made it 2-1, almost lifting the lid off Cardiff Arena.
Inevitably, the away coaching staff lifted goalie Doyle – and sadly paid for it with 15 seconds left, an empty netter from Blight.
*On Saturday, Sheffield did a highly professional job dismantling the early season promise Dundee had shown, form which had taken them to the top two places in the League.
Steelers forward Rob Sirianni was the individual star, with one goal and three assists, his best haul of the season. Jeff Legue(2) and Aaron Nell was also on target.
*Steelers will hope to advance next weekend when they face two teams in the bottom four of the Elite League, Hull Stingrays and Fife Flyers, away and home, respectively.