End of 1st: Cardiff 0 Romford Raiders 1
PUBLISHED: 19:49 24 March 2012
Lee Power reports from Cardiff Ice Arena
Romford Raiders have their noses in front in Wales after a strong first period display.
The visitors made their intentions clear from the start, with Juraj Huska forcing a stick save from Mike Brabon in the opening seconds.
Player-coach Danny Marshall saw his effort gloved wide, before Julian Smith was called for interference on Jamie Hayes with only 49 seconds on the clock.
Raiders killed off the minor penalty without alarm and went close again when Huska’s slapshot was spilled and Shaun Yardley tried to force the loose puck home.
Cardiff’s first chance came when David Sadler’s left-wing centre went wide off the skate of teammate Jordan Powell, before Huska thudded a slapshot into the midrift of Brabon, who also produced a blocker save to keep out the Slovakian’s wristshot after a nice heads-up pass from Jason Buckman.
JJ McGrath’s backhand almost caught Brabon out, before Billy Phillips forced a stick save and captain Anthony Leone almost bundled the rebound home.
Jamie Hayes fired an angled shot over after AJ Smith turned the puck over in mid-ice, before Huska and Phillips were again denied by Brabon on another strong first-line shift.
The deadlock was eventually broken at 12:09, though, when Huska touched the puck back to Phillips at the top of the right face-off circle and his slapshot went in off the leg of Devils veteran Jason Stone.
Cardiff were handed a powerplay chance straight from the restart as McGrath caught James Preece with a high stick, but Raiders survived the shorthanded spell again.
Huska fired into Brabon’s belly, with McGrath looking for a pass on his return to the ice, before Phillips and Sadler clashed behind the play and were both given 10-minute misconduct penalties.
Devils wasted a great chance to level when Stephen Deacon shot wide from the low slot, but Marshall went close to doubling his side’s lead in the final minute when a strong shot caught Brabon on the left shoulder.
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