Rapid Solicitors Hull Stingrays' win at Cardiff Devils was just what was needed, says Sylvain Cloutier
PLAYER-COACH Sylvain Cloutier hailed his side's 3-2 victory over Cardiff as "a step in the right direction."
It was the Rapid Solicitors Stingrays first league win over a top-five club this season.
Unfortunately, last night's gutsy 3-1 defeat to title-chasing Sheffield Steelers still leaves Cloutier's men four points adrift of the play-off places at the foot of the table.
He said: "It was a big win for us as we need to start collecting points off the top-five, as well as sides in our own Conference.
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"We have been playing well over the past couple of weeks and haven't got what we deserved. We just needed a bit of luck and some things to go our way."
Ben Bowns was the hero, pulling off a string of fine saves as Stingrays were out-shot 41-19 in Wales.
The main fights – and all the goals – came in the first period.
Stingrays' Ryan Hand and Devils' Jesse Gimblett indulged in a bout of fisticuffs from the opening face-off before Ben Davies netted after just 49 seconds.
Stingrays'Janis Ozolins and Devils' Chris Blight then clashed, with the latter picking up an extra 12 minutes for being the instigator.
Mac Faulkner (short-handed) doubled Devils' lead at 8.44 before Stingrays – who had new signing Dmitri Rodin in the line-up – hit back with three unanswered markers.
Jereme Tendler (short-handed) on 11.35 and his second on 18.31, sandwiched around Cloutier's goal in 15.22 made it 3-2.
Cloutier said: "Cardiff were all over us in the first 10 minutes of the first period and then we were all over them in the second 10.
"But I thought we played well, we kept them to the outside and Bownsy made the big saves when he had to."
Last night Stingrays' Hand and Steelers' Chris Frank set the tone with a scrap after 17 seconds, which drew five-minute fighting penalties with Hand the extra 12 minutes for instigating.
While Hand appeared the fight winner, it was Tylor Michel who netted the first period's only goal on 17 minutes as Stingrays' Kurtis Dulle sat out a slashing penalty.
Shawn Limpright added the Steelers' second after 28 minutes and Jon Phillips a third after 46 minutes.
Tendler scored Stingrays' first inside the last 10 minutes, but it was too little, too late.
Cloutier said: "We battled hard against a very good team and we kept it close.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, but at least we got the two points from our game in Cardiff on Saturday."