REPORT: Narrow Clan win sets up play-off thriller
Two goals from Nolan LaPorte gave Aspray Glasgow West sponsored Glasgow Clan the edge as they bring a 4-3 lead from Cardiff Devils home for Sunday’s second leg.
In an entertaining game, Malcolm Cameron’s men got a crucial away win to put the tie on a knife edge as both teams head for Braehead Arena to complete this thrilling affair.
The game burst to life after eight minutes when Dyson Stevenson and Cardiff’s Jake Coughler traded punches, with the Clan man shading it.
But the home side seemed to get something from the bout as Matt Register despatched a well hit shot from the inside left to beat Shane Starrett.
Clan almost levelled a few minutes later through Braylon Shmyr, who was sent through on a breakaway, but Devils netminder Mac Carruth made a big stop from the backhanded effort.
Glasgow managed to level before the end of the first when Colin Campbell finished off his own rebound with a backhanded shot after chasing an apparent lost cause, with a little help from Mathieu Roy.
A better second period yielded more goals from the visitors, with Guillaume Gauthier putting Clan in front on 29 minutes.
Stevenson’s pass from wide left found #24 in the centre, who duly buried it past Carruth from the slot and a lead was established.
Riley Brandt forced a great save from Starrett, but down the other end, Glasgow extended their lead to put the travelling fans in dreamland.
Colton Waltz took a pass from Colton Yellow Horn before firing on Carruth. The puck bounced away from the Devils goalie and drops nicely on to the stick of Nolan LaPorte, who tucked it away.
Devils started to put the pressure on in an attempt to claw back the deficit, with Starrett coming up with a big save from Coughler at one point.
But Trevor Cox managed to get one back with five to go in the second, taking the pass from Cole Sanford and delivered his chance into the net.
The third period began with Clan killing a penalty in the opening minutes and saw chances at both ends as time ticked down on this entertaining first leg.
But LaPorte’s second, a snapshot from the top of the face off circle on the right restored the two-goal lead to add a fourth for Glasgow.
Brandan McNally hit the post as Devils turned up the heat in the powerplay as the third went on, but once again, Cardiff narrowed the gap in the final stages through Cole Sanford to make it a one-goal game, where it tees things up nicely for the game in Glasgow on Sunday.
Photos by James Assinder