Depleted Blaze left heartbroken in Sheffield
Despite losing three import defencemen, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze fought back four times before finally going down to a late winner at the Sheffield Arena.
Blaze went into the game missing defence pair Kevin Noble and Jim Jorgensen. Russ Cowley who recently made his 900th appearance for the club dropped back to help on the back-end.
Following an hour’s delay to face-off due to the Sheffield Arena suffering from a power fault, ironically Blaze’s Ashley Tait was called for delay of game at one minute, the Steelers capitalising for 1-0. Levi Nelson, later ejected from the game on a match penalty (5.48) for checking from behind on Barry Almedia the scorer at 1.33.
The home side doubled their advantage on 11.21, Jace Coyle finishing from Colton Fretter and Andreas Valdix’s second of three assists on the night.
The second period began with Blaze getting on the board early. T.J Syner beating Ervins Mustukovs just 21 seconds into the middle twenty minutes. Fellow American forward Barry Almeida tied it up at 25.17, as Blaze lost a further defenceman, Josh Godfrey to injury. Brett Robinson, along with Cowley being deployed to the blue-line.
On a fourth powerplay opportunity of the night, the home side grabbed their second with the man advantage, John Armstrong picking up on a loose puck in front of the net for 3-2 at 37.27.
The third period then exploded with six goals, Matt Marquardt making it 3-3 on the powerplay at 42.55 before Steelers’ Ben O’Connor grabbed a double (47.05, 50.27), Jordan Pietrus (48.29) and Robin Bergman (51.39) responding each time for Blaze to make it 5-5.
There was though heartbreak for the short-benched Blaze side as John Armstrong hit his second and the game-winning-goal with just 1.07 remaining in the game for a 6-5 Sheffield victory.
HC Danny Stewart
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "I'm gutted for my boys. No matter what got thrown our way we kept going, we found a way, we kept tying the game all the way. Tonight we got beat by outside influences and I'll leave it at that."