Blaze suffer late heartbreak
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze suffered late disappointment in the Challenge Cup, losing 2-3 in overtime after the Cardiff Devils tied the score in regulation with just 36 seconds remaining.
With player/assistant coach Ashley Tait taking a place on the bench through injury, Josh Godfrey started the game for Blaze after missing the second of the double header in Belfast. The Canadian though forced to withdraw early. Scott Hotham missing for Cardiff started Tom Murdy in net with Great Britain International Ben Bowns backing up.
The opening goal came at 6.28, Andrew Hotham making an inch perfect stretch pass to Joey Haddad who beat Brian Stewart one-on-one.
Blaze tied it through Captain Jordan Pietrus, putting home a rebound from a Bjorn Bombis shot at 7.37.
With just two seconds remaining in the period, player/coach of the Devils Andrew Lord dropped the gloves with Blaze's Kevin Noble, each receiving 5 minutes for fighting and the Cardiff player/coach a game misconduct.
Blaze took the lead on 32.39, Jim Jorgensen finding Marc Cantin who wound up a big slap-shot past Murdy for 2-1.
With just 36 seconds left and the goalie pulled, Devils' top scorer Joey Martin picked up a loose puck from a scramble to make it 2-2 much to the relief of the Welsh sides noisy support (59.24).
Into overtime the game went, both teams registering a point and looking for the second in 3-on-3 play.
The first big chance fell to Robin Bergman, already with two goals over the weekend, the Swede missed the net with a big shot on the rush, the puck spinning round the boards for a Devils 2-on-1. Hotham found Asselin for 2-3 and heartbreak for the Blaze.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "The performance was there, unfortunately we came just 40 seconds short and it would have put us into a good position. By no means are we accepting of that loss, it's demoralising that we lost and we've got to find a way to close that game out. But, for those guys to put in a good gutsy performance like that after 3 games in 3 nights, playing with energy and physicality, I have to give them credit but unfortunately we just came up a bit short."