Cardiff Fire brave but defeated again.

Cardiff Fire’s difficult inaugural season in NIHL 1 continued on Sunday night with a 9-2 defeat to league leaders Peterborough Phantoms. The Fire is still searching for their first victory at this level but they are continuing to improve. Despite going down 9-2 this was a valiant effort by the Cardiff side. They started the first period well and despite being under constant pressure they managed to keep the league leaders out for the first half of the period, but soon after conceding the first goal the Phantoms had doubled their lead and cruised through the remainder of the first period taking a 4-0 advantage into the first interval.

The Fire announced on Twitter on Sunday that their former Defenceman and former Devil James Manson had come out of retirement to re-sign for them. They came out battling hard at the start of the second period but conceded just after the halfway point of the period. The period ended with the scoreline at 5-0 to the away side but this could have been much worse had it not been for goalie Jordan Lawday again being in fine form.

Towards the end of the second, there was some sort of altercation between Cardiff’s Jackson Price and Peterborough’s Thomas Norton. Both players were shouting abuse at each other, then Norton left his bench to confront Price and actually struck him on the leg with his stick, trying to provoke a reaction. The reaction came from other Fire players, and after the ensuing melee, the officials actually made no calls. I must say I do find the officiating at this level very poor. There should have been some sort of call on this incident as not only players were involved, but one of the Phantoms bench coaches got involved leaning over to the Fires bench and shouting abuse also. The officials seemed clueless and stood back and let it all die down on its own. The period then ended with a respectable 1-0 scoreline.

The Fire finally got the goal they deserved right at the start of the third period with Jordan Powell scoring an unassisted goal after a Phantoms defender gave the puck away. Young Defenseman Elis Sheppard got called for boarding soon after and in the resulting power play, Peterborough scored their sixth goal of the night. With the Fire players now tiring after an extremely brave, battling performance, the Phantoms scored another three goals before David Manning scored a power-play goal, assisted by the night’s man of the match Jordan Powell.

So the search for a first win continues but this season was always going to be a challenge. The Fire faced a first half of the season with an unprecedented injury list, then they have lost several players as the season has progressed. One thing for sure is they are improving and this year will stand them in good stead for next season.

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