Depleted Blaze hit by Storm
A double from Scott Pitt helped Manchester Storm to a 2-4 victory over a depleted Genting Casino Coventry Blaze side at the Skydome Arena.
Without Gustav Ahnelöv, Ryan Dingle (injury) and Danick Paquette (suspension) to begin the game, Brett Robinson was to also leave the Blaze bench clutching his shoulder towards the end of the second period. Finnish forward Patrik Moisio though made his Blaze debut.
Pitt got Manchester on the board first scoring the only powerplay goal of the evening (5.09). Storm going 1-6, Blaze 0-6 for the second night running.
Captain Jordan Pietrus tied things (21.10) bringing onto the ice a huge amount of soft toys, thrown by generous fans in support of Free Radio’s Mission Christmas in aid of Cash for Kids.
On a rebound, Pitt made it 1-2 (28.48) before a Luke Moffatt effort found its way past Kevin Nastiuk in the Blaze net for 1-3 (35.02).
After losing Robinson, Marco Vallerand stepped up early in the third to make it 2-3 (41.19), his league leading 17th of the season.
Storm’s Mike Hammond, who had two assists previously grabbed one for himself (45.45) ending the night’s scoring at 2-4 despite Blaze testing Mike Clemente on numerous occasions. The Storm goalie stopping 39 of Coventry’s 41 shots, Nastiuk making 22 saves from 26 attempts.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I thought we looked a little tired tonight. Credit to Manchester, they won a lot of puck battles and gave them some momentum. We came back in the third with some fight even though we were down to just 13 skaters and got one back but then we gave up another easy on. Maybe they were tired mistakes, but we gave up goals that we shouldn’t be giving up. We need to find a way though this stretch until we get bodies back to pick up some points.”