Devils cruise to first win
by Martin Merk|14 JAN 2023
Cardiff Devils players celebrate a goal in the 7-1 victory against Asiago Hockey.
photo: Theo Bariller-Krine
The Cardiff Devils remain in the race for the IIHF Continental Cup after opening Day 2 of the final tournament with a 7-1 victory against Italian champions Asiago Hockey.

The Devils already built a three-goal lead after 13 minutes of play and never looked back. Cole Sanford and Josh Waller each scored a pair of goals, Taran Kozun had 31 saves.

The Cardiff Devils were ready from the start, kept the puck in the opponent’s zone and took advantage of a giveaway. When Blake Thompson dumped the puck, Asiago goalkeeper Justin Fazio struggled with forwarding the puck to his defender. Cole Sanford intercepted the puck and shot it into the empty net for the lead after 31 seconds.

After the early wake-up call Asiago had its first chances but the next goal was again at their own end. Justin Crandall won a puck battle at the side boards and sent a drop pass to Brodie Reid, whose shot from the face-off circle went in for the two-goal lead at 8:54. Four minutes later during a power play, the Devils scored almost a copy of the previous goal with Josh Waller netting the puck from the same position and Ryan Penny getting the assist. The game already looked out of reach for Asiago before it really started – and despite having held a 7-5 shot advantage prior to conceding the third goal.

“We had a good start, got up early and got momentum,” said Sanford. “Anytime you lose you want to bounce back the next game. We took a lot from last night. We deserved a better fate but that’s hockey. We had some big contribution from everybody tonight and it’s a big win for us.”

Asiago put itself on the scoreboard 90 seconds into the middle frame. Giordano Finoro scored in front of the net after a centering pass from Allan McShane. It brought some short-lived hope to the Italians but just 14 seconds later the Devils put them under pressure in a fast attack and with Josh Brittain converting a rebound for the 4-1 marker.

69 seconds into the third period Sanford scored his second goal of the day on a breakaway and 86 seconds after, Josh Waller outskated Michele Marchetti to beat Fazio for the 6-1 marker.

“We had a tough preparation, we didn’t play well and the result showed it. All the players feel pretty badly about the result and now we need to rest and try to get a better result tomorrow,” said Asiago head coach Tom Barrasso.

A major penalty for boarding against the Devils’ Riley Brandt gave Asiago a man advantage of five minutes but the Italians didn’t manage to score. Stefan Fournier scored the final goal of the 7-1 win with 8:04 left in regulation time.

After the opening-night loss against the Angers Ducs and today’s win against Asiago, hopes for a tournament win are kept alive by the Cardiff Devils.

“We need some help tonight. Hopefully Nitra can do the job for us and then we can go tomorrow to win the tournament,” Sanford said.
Cardiff Devils vs Asiago Hockey - 2023 IIHF Continental Cup Final