Match report: Cardiff 5 â€“ Oxford 2
Oxford City Stars recorded their fourth league defeat of the season after losing 5-2 away to a determined Cardiff team.
The game started fairly quietly with both sides looking for an opening but neither netminder being tested early. In the third minute, Cardiff were assessed a bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice, Oxford looked to use the resulting powerplay to push forward and open their scoring account but were instead shocked by a Cardiff breakaway. The puck popped out to Giacoma Raffaelli on the Cardiff blue line and the talented younster flew down the ice, deked Oxford netminder Ricky Young and slid the puck home. Oxford took their own bench minor a few minutes later and then during a goalmouth tussle in front of the Oxford net, Cardiff’s Matthew Downward appeared to lose his cool and blindsided player/coach Darren Elliott with a punch to the back of Elliott’s head followed up with further punches before being pulled off by the officials. Downward was ejected from the match with 2+5+game assessed in total. However were unable to capitalise from the resulting lomg penalty and instead were stunned when Cardiff scored a second short-handed goal.
Oxford appeared to be out of sorts for the remainder of the period and Cardiff must be credited for playing with grit and passion – rewarding them with two further goals before the period ended.
Coach Elliott obviously had a few words to say to his players in the period break and Stars came out a very different team in the second period. Chasing every puck and pushing hard to create chances, they dominated the start of the second period. The lines were working well and scoring chances came thick and fast from every line. Sadly for the Stars, Cardiff’s netminder Ross Miller was having a fantastic game and managed to keep the puck out of the net time and again. Cardiff’s defence scrambled at times but mostly kept their shape well and managed the odd counter attack. Oxford’s hopes for a comeback were crushed though when Cardiff scored their fifth goal. Ricky Young in net was able to make the first save but was unable to get accross net to stopthe rebound from being slotted in by an unmarked player on the back post.
A few minutes later, Oxford finally scored their first of night. Joe Edwards, in his first game back after breaking his ankle in October, combined with Josh Oliver and finally defeated Miller in the Cardiff net with a shot squeezed in off the post from a very tight angle. Oxford continued to push and worked hard throughout the period but were unable to score again and went into the second period break 5-1 down and needing a miracle.
The third period started as the second finished, Oxford continued to push forward and were met with a determined Cardiff defence. Cardiff were not without their won offensive efforts and caught Oxford on the break several times forcing some fine saves from Young in net. A powerplay in the 47th minute for Stars was finally rewarded with a goal when Alan Green slammed the puck home from the slot after a lovely pass from James Pentecost. Oxford kept pushing but Cardiff were steady and refused to let their lead slip any further, defending well as a unit and working hard to stop Stars from playing their usual flowing game. When the final buzzer sounded at 60 minutes, a delighted Cardiff had won the game 5-2.