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Former Thorold Hawks help Cardiff capture UK title

The "Thorold line" of three former Blackhawks help Cardiff win UK hockey title

Three former Thorold Jr. B Blackhawks are members of the championship Cardiff Devils professional hockey club.

Joey Martin and Sean Bentivoglio from Thorold, along with Mike Hedden of Dunnville, celebrated after the Devils won the team's second consecutive UK Elite Hockey Playoff Trophy.

The former Hawks are now linemates. This is Hedden's first year, Bentivolgio's third and Martin is in his fifth season with the Welsh team.

Cardiff defeated the Belfast Giants 2-1 to capture the playoff title.

Fie Adolfsen, Cardiff Devils Media & Communications manager, told ThoroldNews, "We have absolutely loved the Thorold line as we've called them this year of Benti (Bentivoglio), Hedden and Marty (Joey Martin). Joey has been with us for five seasons now and our fans call him the GOAT - He's also widely regarded as one of, if not the, best player in the league. Benti just finished his third season here and it was the first for Hedden." 

The season is structured so that over the course of 60 games, teams play each of the 10 other teams three times at home and three away.

Cardiff lost the league title on the final day of the regular season, settling for second place headed into the playoffs. 

Adolfsen described losing the league title on the final day: "(It) was absolutely heartbreaking to lose it and especially because we lost it on a tiebreaker of regulation wins (we finished on 92 points and so did the Belfast Giants). It would have been the third year in a row that we'd won it, which no other team had ever done."

The League trophy is considered the "big one."

Cardiff played the seventh placed team (Sheffield) in the quarter final, which is a best of two games on aggregate score - first game ended 5-4 in Sheffield on the Saturday and Cardiff won 7-3 at home on Sunday to progress to the final four weekend in Nottingham. Martin scored a hattrick in the second game and had one goal in the first. Bentivoglio had a goal in the 7-3 win. 

That was last weekend, when the Devils played Nottingham on the Saturday and won 9-4. Belfast beat Guildford in their semi final and then the Grand Final was Sunday, when Cardiff won 2-1 and received the Playoff trophy. Hedden opened the scoring in the final championship game.

In the EIHL, there are three major trophies up for grabs (League trophy, Challenge Cup and Playoff trophy) and Belfast won the first two and Cardiff captured the last one.