Beca double disappoints Blaze in home opener
Following a narrow defeat in Nottingham the night before, Genting Casino Coventry Blaze suffered further disappointment, falling to Patton Conference rivals Manchester Storm 1-4 in their 2017/18 Elite League home opener.
With Danick Paquette and Garrett Ladd missing again for Coventry, the opening twenty minutes were a cagey affair with few major scoring chances.
In the second period though, the game came to life. Matt Beca, who led the league for scoring last season as part of the Braehead Clan, put the away side ahead (21.37) before Blaze's Dax Lauwers and Storm's Gerard Hanson each received 5 plus game for fighting. The penalties following a bump on Coventry goalie Kevin Nastiuk at 36.57. Blaze assistant captain Ryan Dingle and Manchester's Luke Moffat also picking up 5 minutes for dropping the gloves.
Captain Jordan Pietrus thought he'd tied the game 1-1 just after the half way mark, the goal though waved off by referee Michael Hicks due to an apparent man in the goal crease. Seconds later, Ryan Dingle rounded Storm goalie Mike Clemente, with the net dislodged and the goal light flashing, the opportunity again wiped out by the official, leaving Danny Stewart and the Blaze bench less than impressed.
On a 5-on-3 powerplay, Beca then doubled the away side's advantage (38.03) before Marco Vallerand in the third period gave Blaze a lifeline (45.14). The assist going to Swedish defenceman Gustav Ahnelov, his fifth straight home game with a point.
A come-back wasn't to be though as Ryan Trenz on the man advantage and Mike Hammond, assisted by Beca who picked up four points on the night, registered to leave Blaze point-less after the first weekend of the season.