Solent Devils were held to a heartbreaking tie as Cardiff Devils managed to snatch a 3-3 draw in the final minute of their National League south division one game on Sunday.
Whenever the two teams meet, tensions are normally high as both are determined to prove who should be the top Devils in the division.
After three minutes, Gosport’s Jamie Fitzpatrick was sent to the sin bin following an interference call – and Cardiff used the extra man to great effect, scoring just 15 seconds after the puck dropped.
Solent did not allow this to alter their focus, though, and less than three minutes later George Norcliffe got the puck to Richard Facey, who went on to beat Ross Miller in the Cardiff goal.
Early in the second period, there were cries of despair from the home crowd after the referee did not see the puck bounce out of the Cardiff net.
And as Solent were trying to get over the shock, the visitors made their way down the ice and rattled the post.
The hosts soon regained their composure and picked up the rebound, with Norcliffe and Facey teaming up again – this time getting the puck to Dominik Hegyi, who went on to put Solent ahead.
Mitchell Murray then teed up his brother – player-coach Alex Murray – to double Solent’s advantage and make it 3-1.
Coming out in the third period, Cardiff tried everything they could to get back into the game – and the intensity with which they attacked the Solent goal was impressive.
Stephen Gosset was sent to the sin bin on a roughing call.
And shortly afterwards, when trying to clear the puck and knocking it over the netting, Facey was sent to join Gosset for delaying of game.
Somehow, the three remaining Solent Devils kept the puck from the net.
But 25 seconds after returning to the ice, Gosset was returned to the sin bin for tripping.
Cardiff then managed to break through the defence and bring the score back to within one goal. Going into the last minute, Solent dared to believe they had done enough to win.
But with 14 seconds left to play, Cardiff managed to beat Christian Cole to tie.
Solent head coach Alex Murray said: ‘It was disappointing we couldn’t see out the game.
‘Having dominated, we took a 3-1 lead into the third and should have killed the game off.
‘Credit to Cardiff who didn’t give up but for us it’s a point lost rather than a point gained.’
– STEVE BREEN