Angers wins it in SO
by Martin Merk|13 JAN 2023
The Angers Ducs players celebrate their goalkeeper Evan Cowley after the 2-1 shootout win against the Cardiff Devils.
photo: Theo Bariller-Krine
Host club Angers Ducs started the 2023 IIHF Continental Cup with a 2-1 victory in shootout against the Cardiff Devils.

Angers was leading for a big part of the game and eventually got the win in a shootout.

The Frenchmen avenged the 3-1 loss in the preliminary round on Cardiff’s ice and this time around with their energetic fans at a full IceParc in Angers. It was a win despite being outshot 42-32 during the 65 minutes of play.

Angers goalkeeper Evan Cowley had a big game with 41 saves in 42 shots on goal (97.62%).

“When we have a big game he’s always there. He succeeded in keeping us in the game and gave us confidence,” said Angers forwards Philippe Halley, who scored both the 1-0 goal in regulation time and Angers’ first goal in the shootout.

“We knew that we didn’t play our best game against them when we played in Cardiff. It was a nice victory and a good effort by the entire team.”

Cowley also got praise from the other end.

“Evan Cowley played a good game, it was a game of the goalies tonight. Ben Bowns was really strong for us too and kept us in the game for a chance to win,” said Cardiff Devils forward Stefan Fournier. “Now we have to rebound tomorrow and play well against Asiago.”

The host club had its first bigger chance when 70 seconds into the game Nicolas RItz skated from right to left in front of the net. At the other end the Devils’ first line with Joey Martin and Trevor Cox had good opportunities around the 10-minute mark but otherwise the Welsh team was rather busy defending its own end during the period.

The Angers Ducs eventually opened the scoring at 12:44. Jonathan Charbonneau fed Halley in the neutral zone, who circled around Giants defender Blake Thompson and beat goalkeeper Ben Bowns with a high shot.

The Cardiff Devils needed some time to recover but came out more determined and tougher for the second period. They outshot Angers 17-4 but didn’t create many quality chances.

While the Devils didn’t manage to score with normal means, they succeeded in tying the game with an unusual goal 109 seconds into the third period. The Devils dumped the puck along the boards behind the Angers net. Ducs defender Kevin Dusseau tried to clear it but his pass went in front of the own net and a confused Angers goalie Evan Cowley – and to the stick of Cardiff forward Brodie Reid, who made it 1-1.

The goal relaunched the game and both teams were striving for scoring chances to get the lead. Angers had more of them but regulation time ended with a 1-1 tie.

In a cautiously played 3-on-3 overtime period the Cardiff Devils did the better job but neither team managed to net the puck and a shootout had to decide.

Penalty-shot shootout:
Charbonneau – save, Reid 1-0.
Halley 1-1, Sanford – save.
Bouvet – save, Cox – save.
Giroux – miss, Martin – save.
Harms 1-2, Waller – miss.

The Cardiff Devils will continue the tournament on Saturday afternoon against Asiago Hockey. Both teams desperately need a win to keep the dream of winning the Continental Cup alive.

In the evening the Angers Ducs will play HK Nitra in a game between the two undefeated teams.

“Every game is important. Every game here is like a final. We need to leave this game tonight behind us and focus on the next game,” said Halley.
Cardiff Devils vs Angers Ducs - 2023 IIHF Continental Cup Final