Blaze claim first-leg advantage
Holders Genting Casino Coventry Blaze posted a 5-3 victory over Sheffield Steelers in the first leg of their Elite League play-off quarter-final at the Skydome.
Brett Robinson, who this week committed his future to Blaze for next season, grabbed the go-ahead goal on the powerplay at 3.36.
Cale Tanaka doubled Blaze's lead at 17.33 - his 99th point in all EIHL competitions for the club - with Chris Bruton adding a third on the powerplay at 24.35.
Carl Lauzon made it 4-0 at 26.13, which prompted a Steelers time-out, and Kevin Noble scored at 29.34 to put Blaze in total control.
But Fredrik Vestberg pulled one back at 32.14 before Steelers had captain Jonathan Phillips ejected for cross-checking at 34.23.
Final-period markers from Robert Dowd (44.19) and Guillaume Desbiens (58.29 powerplay) ensured Blaze will hold a two-goal lead going into the second leg in Sheffield on Sunday.
The win was a fifth in a row at home for Blaze - a feat last achieved in 2012.
"We talked about it being a 120 minute game and we said in the locker room if you told us we were going to take a two-nothing lead into Sheffield we'd take it.
"I thought our first two periods were really good, in the third period we knew they were going to push and we got on our heels a little bit.
"We went to the hard areas and we challenged the paint and that was part of our game plan.
"I have got to sell to the boys that it's zero-zero tomorrow. That's how you have to play the game. It's not about trying to keep the clock moving and we're focussed on winning tomorrow." - Head Coach, Chuck Weber