Blaze defeated in Northern Ireland
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze fell to a 5-2 St Patrick's weekend defeat in Northern Ireland to the Belfast Giants at the SSE Arena.
The Giants, who saw their hopes of an Elite League title end with Cardiff Devils' Championship victory in Sheffield, took the lead through their top-points scorer Chris Higgins (11.51). The American finishing a cross-ice pass for his 18th goal of the year and 50th point.
Blaze though hit back quickly through their Man of the Match, defenceman Shawn Boutin scoring his 4th goal of the season, all on the powerplay (13.50).
Out-shooting Coventry 22-7, the second period belonged to the Irish side. Colin Shields first registering with the man advantage for 2-1 at 23.50, before the Great Britain International made it 3-1 with his 650th point in Elite League competitions. It wouldn't have been the way the 37-year-old would have wanted it though, the puck going in from a Blaze stick in attempt to bat it away from goal in mid-air (33.06).
Coventry Captain Jordan Pietrus, after sustained pressure in the Belfast zone was next on the score-sheet registering his 14th of the season for 3-2 (50.05).
On the powerplay again, Belfast's DJ Rutherford made it 4-2, all but putting the game to bed at 51.43. With just over two minutes remaining, Brian Stewart was pulled from the Blaze net, Mike Forney finishing into the empty goal for a final score of 5-2 (58.11).
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "It's not an ideal result but we need to pick ourselves up as we have a huge game tomorrow (vs. Brahead Clan at the Skydome 5.15pm) and that's what we need to look to. It's a must win game and we have to find a way."