HULL STINGRAYS endured a nightmare Elite League trip to South Wales as they were thrashed 7-0 by a rampant Cardiff Devils.
It was a third defeat of the season for the Yorkshire club at the hands of the in-form Devils, who stretched their winning streak to six games and are now level on points with second-placed Braehead Clan, while lying just the one point behind leaders Sheffield Steelers.
Stingrays found themselves 3-0 down inside eight minutes with player-coach Andrew Lord, Trevor Hendrikx and Andrew Hotham all firing past helpless Hull netminder David Brown.
That prompted a time-out by Stingrays’ player-coach Omar Pacha, but it was only a short while before the Devils made it 4-0 with a delayed penalty goal from Chris Jones at 14.29.
Brent Walton’s penalty shot at 27.13 ended any lingering hopes of a Stingrays comeback, before Hendrikx and Chris Culligan added further goals in the third period to rub salt into the wounds.
“It could not have gone any worse,” admitted a disappointed Pacha.
“It was a bad day in general as we were sat on the bus because of an accident on the way and arrived late.
“Our preparation was poor and we could just not get going.
“We knew they were going to come out hard and the first period was a killer, we just didn’t show up. It was our worst period of the year but we stuck together and battled hard in the second and third period.
“That first period was not acceptable but there is no point dwelling on it, we just have to learn from it and know we have to show up from the get-go.”
The two sides will now meet again in just three days’ time with a place in the last eight of the Challenge Cup at stake for Hull.
Cardiff are already assured a place in the quarter-finals after finishing second in Group B behind the Steelers, while Hull need a regulation-time win in front of their own fans to secure their spot in the knockout phase.
Any other result will see Coventry Blaze – one point ahead of Hull – face Group A winners Braehead Clan in a two-legged tie scheduled to be played on January 14 and 21.
“Cardiff are built for their rink and play very well there, but it will be a different game on Saturday,” added Pacha.
“Hopefully, this loss will give the guys that extra boost and they will be ready to get some revenge.”
Tuesday night’s only other result saw Belfast Giants thrash Dundee Stars 9-3.