Blaze prepared for Cardiff challenge
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze travel to Cardiff today looking to build upon victory over the Dundee Stars last Sunday at the Skydome Arena. Face-off 7pm.
Blaze and the Devils last met on the 24th September in the Challenge Cup at Ice Arena Wales with the Welsh side coming out on top 6-3 in what proved to be a feisty affair, with Coventry’s Garrett Klotz and Cardiff’s Patrick Bordeleau clashing at the Blaze bench (HIGHLIGHTS).
Bordeleau, a former NHLer was left with a bloody nose and raging as he was escorted off the ice. Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart, speaking of the incident to Ice Time TV claimed an attack on his bench leading to an act of self-defence, whilst Cardiff’s Andrew Lord, not seeing the incident said, "from what I’m hearing I think they may have woken up the bear." With the coming together occurring so far off the play, video replay was unavailable and no suspensions were called for by either time.
That wasn’t to be the end of it though with Bordeleau posting the following shortly after the game:
The Blaze Head Coach, speaking to Rob McGregor for the Elite League website commented when asked:
“Based off social media and things that have been put out by their club I imagine they could possibly be seeking some retribution for what they feel happened but our focus is to play a smart road game and pick up two points, and whatever happens, if we have to deal with it on the night then we will.”
Registering 4 points on that Saturday night two weeks ago, last season’s Elite League Player of the Year, Joey Martin will again pose a huge threat for the Coventry defence.
With 10 points (5+5) in 8 Elite League and Challenge Cup games so far, Martin along with Jake Morrissette (also 5+5) sit just behind Partick Asselin for Cardiff’s top-point scorer. The multi-time Danish Champion hitting 11 points so far (2+9).
One player who perhaps hasn’t started as many would have expected is Gui Doucet. Yet to score this season, the Canadian sharp-shooter is a proven force in the Elite League and is sure to catch fire sometime soon - Blaze fans just hope it isn't tonight.
Breaking a scoring drought was something Blaze forward Robin Bergman managed, much to his obvious relief as the Blaze beat Dundee Stars on home ice last Sunday (4-2). With outstanding speed and skill, he’s sure to pose a threat on Ben Bowns' net, whilst Matt Marquardt is likely to be a key figure too. The former Kelly Cup winner with 1 goal, 8 assists (leading Blaze for points) is built for games of tonight’s nature. Darcy Zajac has scored in each of Blaze’s last three games against the Devils, including each of Blaze’s last two games in Cardiff.
On defence, the rejuvenated Josh Godrey is likely to play a big role if Blaze are to be victorious. With 2 of his 5 goals so far this season coming on the powerplay, the Blaze number 15 is an important cog in the Blaze 'PP' which currently sits 2nd best over all league and cup games played so far (22.5%). On the road, the percentage falls though to 15.4% (6th).
Cardiff with the man advantage sit in 4th place overall (20.6%) but crucially at home the percentage shoots up to 31.6% (2nd) so staying out of the box, something which has been a struggle at times so far this season will be important for Danny Stewart’s side.
Devils’ penalty-killing is equally impressive when on home ice, leading the league at 90.0%. When you consider all games they sit 2nd with 87.9%. Blaze are 4th overall (83.7%) and 3rd when away from home (82.4%).
Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart said for the EIHL website, “It’s always tough going into Cardiff, they’ve put together a good team. We’ve seen them early on here in the season, we had a couple of tight games in the pre-season and for 45-50 minutes we were tight until we gave up a couple of short-handed goals and they were able to pull away from us the last time, but obviously we’re looking to stay on a winning note and go in there and pick up two points.”
Devils player/coach Andrew Lord, who recently extended is contract with the Welsh side for a further two seasons said, “I’m expecting a very exciting hockey game. I think we are going to come out with a lot of passion, a lot of energy and a lot more excitement in our game I believe. I think it’s a perfect test for us right now. At the same time Coventry are playing very well and we need a good physical game and I think you are going to see that.”
Tonight's game is a sell-out in Cardiff, however for a cost of £8 there is a live web stream via Ice Time TV: http://www.icetime.tv/index.php/events/h05/
Updates will also be provided on Twitter via @covblazelive