Ice Hockey: Cardiff Devils can still win Elite League title - Ben Bowns

By Owen RawlingsBBC Wales Sport at Sheffield Arena
Ben Bowns
Cardiff Devils lost Sunday's final despite netminder Ben Bowns' excellent defensive performance

Cardiff Devils are still the best team in ice hockey's Elite League, says netminder Ben Bowns.

The Welsh side lost their Challenge Cup crown after a 1-0 overtime loss to Nottingham Panthers in Sunday's final.

The Devils have also been leapfrogged by Sheffield Steelers at the top of the Elite League after three consecutive defeats, but Bowns remains confident of silverware.

"We are the best team in the league, so why not?," he said.

"If we play like we can, stick to these systems [then] we are going to do it.

"There is not one player in this league that I would swap for anyone in our dressing room," added Bowns, who turned away an impressive 47 of the 48 shots he faced on Sunday.

Andrew Lord's side can still win three trophies this season - the Devils are second in the Elite League and have a game in hand on the Steelers, who are two points ahead with four games to play before the play-offs begin.

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The Welsh side, who have five games left, are also top of the Erhardt Conference.

Despite Evan Mosey's late winner for Nottingham at the Sheffield Arena, which came just two days after the Panthers had beaten the Devils 6-1 in the league, Bowns is backing his side to return to their best.

"The commitment is there, the effort levels are there," Bowns told BBC Wales Sport.

"Maybe we need to be a little more clinical in the defensive zone and offensive zone, but that is about it.

"If everyone just does what they can, then we are not going to have a problem."

Devils player-coach Lord says he was "very proud" of his side's performance, but admits they struggled in overtime, as the Panthers looked fresher with the teams playing four-on-four during sudden-death.

"[I] should have had the boys better prepared for the four-on-four, we are not used to that format. They kind of just hemmed us in.

"For whatever reason, we have lost our legs a little bit the last 10 days, two weeks.

"Maybe I need to look at our training a little bit, evaluate that, because we need to get our legs back."

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