Blaze begin with impressive cup win
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze went into their first competitive game of the 2016/17 Elite League season on the back of three wins and two pre-season defeats. New Head Coach Danny Stewart, who won the Elite League Championship three times as a player in Coventry, saw his team score an impressive 24 goals in those five games.
The free-scoring continued as the Nottingham Panthers arrived for a Challenge Cup fixture to open up the season at the Skydome Arena.
German forward Bjorn Bombis, the club’s top goal scorer in pre-season continued his fine form scoring the opening goal at 4.01 before Blaze’s Ross Venus and Panthers’ Jeff Brown exchanged pleasantries, both taking five minutes in the penalty box for fighting.
Defenceman Jim Jorgensen doubled Coventry’s lead at 8.31, assisted expertly by Matt Marquardt for his second assist of the night. The score remained that way as both sides headed into the locker room for the first intermission.
The second period, was a tenacious affair with both teams battling for every puck, ultimately cancelling each other out with no scoring. Blaze though came the closest through Swedish forward Robin Bergman, using his outstanding speed to chase down a loose puck, just being beaten by Jindrich Pacl in the Nottingham net who cleared the danger.
The third and final period started in much the same vein before Canadian Josh Godfrey extended the home sides lead with a big shot from the blue-line for 3-0. Brad Moran gave the Panthers a lifeline at 52.54 but despite a late surge and a pulling of the netminder for the extra skater, Blaze held strong for a 3-1 win in front of a noisy Skydome crowd.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said “It was important to get off to a good start in the group stage of the Challenge Cup, it is something we value and want to progress in. I was pleased with our team effort and the compete level in all three zones.”