The Cardiff Devils team everybody else aspires to match

Cardiff celebrate at Belfast. Pic by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Cardiff celebrate at Belfast. Pic by William Cherry/Press Eye.

Cardiff Devils have been crowned Elite League champions for the second season running.

Their 3-2 win at Belfast Giants ensured they keep the title.

And the result underlined the gap that exists in quality between Cardiff and the also-rans, including fifth placed Sheffield Steelers, whom they host on Sunday.

Andrew Hotham’s dramatic powerplay goal with 20 seconds remaining was the winning strike.

Cardiff Devils coach Andrew Lord said it was "an unbelievable feeling."

He told 'A View from the Bridge'. “To win two in a row the way we did feels amazing.

Cardiff win in Belfast

Cardiff win in Belfast

“Last year was a huge year, winning it after so long and if you look at any sport all over the world, to repeat it is such a hard feat.

“We did it in a convincing fashion and to be ahead as much as we were in the last couple of months speaks volumes about the guys and their work ethic and I’m proud of them all.

“What a goal by Andrew Hotham to win it for us. He took some flack in the last few weeks and in the Challenge Cup Final in particular for not playing to his best.

“I’m so pleased for him and we are where we are because of this guy. To score with 20 seconds to go just talks about the commitment and how bad they wanted it.

“This league’s never been as good as it is and that says a lot about how great our guys are and how hard they play every night to win the way they’ve done in such a convincing fashion over the course of the season.”

Steelers have pride to play for this weekend and a place as high up the table as possible.

Coach Paul Thompson has said their current fifth place would not be acceptable spot to finish in.

More than 8,000 fans will see if the team can pull something special out against Nottingham Panthers, currently in seventh spot.