8:40am Thursday 20th March 2014
ALAN Green and Darren Elliott hit hat-tricks as Oxford City Stars ran out 10-1 winners against Cardiff Devils 2 to stay firmly in the South Division 2 title race.
They are one of five teams – almost half the division – still in with a chance of finishing on top with three games remaining.
A dominant display at the Oxford Ice Rink was just what the defending champions needed after losing two of their last three games in all competitions.
Stars were in control from the very beginning and Cardiff netminder Ross Miller had his work cut out to keep the game scoreless early on.
At the other end, James Skaife had little to do, but the goalie made one excellent stop to prevent the visitors going ahead with their only shot in anger of the first period.
The breakthrough finally came on 16 minutes.
Josh Florey won the puck round the back of the Cardiff net, starting a move which was finished off by Green.
It was the only goal of the period, but the balance of play began to be reflected in the second frame.
Fast, flowing hockey tore Cardiff apart and within a minute of the restart they had doubled the lead.
Joe Edwards, who had seconds earlier failed to react in front of a gaping net, made amends by burying a pass from Josh Florey.
A brilliant pass from Joe Oliver laid on a powerplay goal for Green, who lifted the puck into the top corner for his second of the night.
Elliott’s first goal came during a spell when both sides had a man in the sin-bin, midway through the period.
All four skaters were involved as the hosts made the most of the extra space and after good work from Green and James Pentecost, Elliott applied the finish.
The same three players combined to make it 5-0, with Green claiming his hat-trick.
With the result effectively decided, the final period became a procession.
Andy Cox scored his first league goal of the season, streaking in from the blue line to pick up a rebound, before showing great composure to find the net.
Cardiff, who travelled with a depleted squad, claimed a consolation through Steve Newton.
The hosts responded with four more goals in quick succession.
Elliott added two more to complete his haul, sandwiching a tap-in from Sam Arnold.
The rout was completed four minutes from time, when Josh Oliver picked up a pass from Jeff Sykora before sliding round two defenders and beating an exhausted Miller to bring up double figures.
Stars, who are just a point off the top, host Bristol Pitbulls on Saturday (7.30).
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group