Blaze grab crucial shoot-out victory
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze secured a crucial two points in the race for an Elite League playoff spot, beating the Manchester Storm 3-2 after a sudden-death penalty shoot-out at the Skydome Arena.
Without the injured Kevin Noble, Blaze began the crucial encounter in perfect fashion. Swedish forward Robin Bergman scoring on the powerplay from Brett Robinson and Marc Cantin (7.28).
Through Darian Dziurzynski the Storm levelled at 8.36 before the Canadian added a second for 1-2 at 13.39, his 25th of the Elite League season. It was a deserved lead for the away side, out-shooting their opponents 6-15 in the opening period.
With no scoring in the middle twenty, Storm held their lead until there was just 2.35 minutes left in the game. Turning the shot count around whilst chasing a third period equaliser (15-7), it was T.J. Syner tying the game 2-2 for Blaze.
With both teams taking a point after 60 minutes, 3-on-3 overtime passed by with no winner.
Dziurzynski and Bergman, both earlier scorers in the game began the shoot-out each beating the respective keeper. With Blaze's Barry Almeida missing and Mark Heatley scoring for Manchester, the pressure was on for Coventry forward Brett Robinson in the third round. The Canadian keeping the game alive as Jack Price was to miss for the Storm.
With Bergman and Jordan Pietrus being blanked in sudden-death, Blaze Man of the Match Brian Stewart gave Matt Marquardt the opportunity to win the game for Blaze stopping shots from Dziurzynski, Heatley and finally Patrik Valcak.
Win the game Marquardt did, the former Kelly Cup winner stepping up to beat Mike Clemente and seal the all-important two points for Coventry.