Champions Hockey League: Cardiff Devils 0-5 Adler Mannheim

By Philip MarshBBC Sport Wales
Cardiff Devils were playing their first match in 17 months
Cardiff Devils were playing their first match in 17 months

Cardiff Devils' long-awaited return ended in a 0-5 defeat to Adler Mannheim in the Champions Hockey League.

The Devils were without head coach Jarrod Skalde, assistant coach Neil Francis plus players Josh Batch and Ben Davies due to failed Covid protocols.

Jordan Szwarz, Joonas Lehtivuori and Moritz Wirth put Mannheim 3-0 up in a dominant first period.

Borna Rendulic's powerplay goal made it 4-0 in the second before Andrew Desjardins completed the scoring.

The match against the German team was always going to be a difficult return for the Devils, with head coach Skalde and players only arriving in Cardiff a fortnight ago.

With limited practice session and no warm-up games under their belt, the Devils struggled to match Mannheim's speed and found themselves behind less than a minute in, Szwarz the scorer.

While the Devils struggled with the pace of the game, they matched the physicality in what was a first period littered with scuffles.

But Mannheim continued to dominate and scored their second goal after 10 minutes, Lehtivuori adding the finishing touches to a swift counter attack.

And as soon as it was two it was three, this time 22-year-old Wirth getting the better of Devils netminder Mac Carruth.

Mannheim extended their lead in the second period, Rendulic firing through a crowd of players on the powerplay after Trevor Cox was penalised for roughing.

The side, who play in Germany's Deutsche Eishockey Liga, continued to dominate in the final period, Desjardins' defected effort beating the helpless Carruth.

The Devils welcome Switzerland's Lausanne HC to the Viola Arena on Saturday for their second CHL match in three days.

Lausanne beat Finnish champions Lukko Rauma 3-2 after overtime in the opening game of Group C.

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