Flames lose out to Devils with the right to face Giants in final


Guildford Flames hopes of reaching the Elite League play-off final were dashed after a late Devils powerplay goal from Justin Crandall just two minutes from time sent them into the final to face the Belfast Giants.

Flames, not for the first time in the play-offs, had to keep coming from behind to outshoot their opponents 32-20.

Cardiff were first on the board when Jake Coughler netted after 12:45. Flames had their chances to open the scoring before the Devils opener through powerplay opportunities but failed to convert them.

Even after the opener, it was Flames who looked the better of the two sides, but Devils increased their advantage with just thirty seconds left of the second period when Cole Sanford beat Kevin Lindskoug.

Early in the third, the Flames comeback was on when Turner Ripplinger scored to give the Flames fans hope of another dramatic comeback.

That looked on with five minutes remaining when Ripplinger bagged his second of the game to draw Guildford level.

With the game heading for overtime, a Flames penalty proved decisive in the 58th minute when Crandall struck to break the hearts of Guildford.

Flames played with an extra skater in the last minute during a powerplay of their own with Lindskoug on the bench, but despite constant efforts to breach the Devils’ defence, Cardiff held firm.

“It’s difficult to express how disappointing it is to have played as well as we felt we did and come away being relegated out of the championship game,” said Paul Dixon.

“We couldn’t have asked for more from these guys today, and at this stage it’s hard to not feel a bit heartbroken for all of them.  Not only how we played, but the no quit attitude that gave us a chance to be back in it when we had been a couple of goals down.

“These guys put everything they had into the game, and it’s not easy to accept that we did not win it when we felt like today we had the bulk of the pressure and chances.

“That’s part of the excitement of the one off semi final format I guess. There is no question it hurts, and we deserved a better fate today, but eventually we can look back on our playoffs, including this game, and know that we played well, and we left it all on the ice with our collective effort.”


Cardiff Devils  3 Guildford Flames  2

Elite League play-off semi-final  at Nottingham Saturday 30th April 2022


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