Blaze seek Cup progression in Nottingham
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze travel to Nottingham on Friday to take on the Panthers in their final Challenge Cup group game (7.30pm face-off).
Blaze were victorious in the first Cup encounter between the two, winning at the Skydome Arena by a score of 3-1 (report) back in early September.
Since, Nottingham returned to the ice in Coventry taking a 3-5 victory in the Elite League (report).
The Panthers, already qualified for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with 10 points, currently sit second in Group B, two points behind the Sheffield Steelers who lead the way with 12 points from their total 8 games.
Following a good early season run, the Panthers have hit a recent skid, losing their last five games, forcing Head Coach Corey Neilson into making a change to his roster. Petr Kalus, who signed as injury cover in the absence of Chris Lawrence and Stephen Schultz from the line-up, has departed, with 35-yeard-old, 6’7” Slovakian defenceman Kristian Kudroc incoming and making his debut against the Blaze. Geoff Waugh is set to be missing for the Panthers too (see here).
Coventry will also hand a debut to a new player, Great Britain International Ben Davies who joined the club earlier this week following a short-spell in the ECHL to begin the season.
A Blaze win in regulation time will see them qualify for the quarter-finals of the cup, a regulation loss will see them out with a number of other scenarios (as detailed below) for an overtime victory or defeat.
Current Group B standings
Friday November 11th: Panthers vs. Blaze at the Motorpoint Arena.
Sunday November 13th: Devils vs. Storm at Ice Arena Wales.
With thanks to Stuart Cole of Blaze TV, here’s the scenarios:
...Blaze win in regulation in Nottingham?
- Blaze are through.
- Blaze would have 7 pts. A regulation win for Devils or Storm would leave one of them on 6 points.
- In the event of an OT/SO win for either side, giving one of the teams 7 pts, Blaze would have more regulation wins (3) than either Devils (2) or Storm (2)
...Blaze win in OT in Nottingham?
- Blaze would have 7 points. A regulation win for either Devils or Storm would leave one of them on 6 points and Blaze would be through.
- An OT win for Cardiff would leave Manchester on 7 pts, but Blaze would have more total wins, and would be through.
- An OT win for Manchester would leave Cardiff on 7 pts, and Cardiff would be through with a better head-to-head record.
...Blaze lose in regulation to Nottingham?
- Blaze are out with only 5 points.
...Blaze lose in overtime to Nottingham?
- They will equal points with both Cardiff and Manchester.
- In order for Blaze to progress, they would need Cardiff to win in regulation against Manchester - they would then hold the tiebreaker of having the better away record (equal reg wins, wins, head to head record and losses) over the Storm.
- If Manchester beat Cardiff in regulation, then Blaze would be out as Cardiff hold the tiebreaker on total wins.
- Any OT/SO result would also leave the Blaze eliminated.
Points: Matt Marquardt 3+14 = 17 in 17
Goals: Josh Godfrey 6+6 = 12 in 18 and Jordan Pietrus 6+6 = 12 in 19
Goals: Chris Lawrence (injured) 8+5 = 13 in 10, David Clarke 6+2 = 8 in 14 (2nd)
Points: Brad Moran 5+10 = 15 in 17
Brian Stewart 18 games - .915 SVS% - 2.74 GAA
Miika Wiikman 13 games - .900 SVS% - 2.66 GAA
Jindrich Pacl 6 games - .900 SVS% - 3.02 GAA
Powerplay 17.4% (7th) Penalty-kill 85.7% (3rd)
Powerplay 17.5% (6th) Penalty-kill 86.9% (2nd)
Unfortunately, Nottingham do not offer a webcast service.
There will be live updates throughout the game on Twitter via @CovBlazeLive