First period firepower sees Blaze past Panthers
Three goals in a fast-paced first period were enough to secure the Coventry Blaze their first Elite Series win with a 3-1 "home" victory over the Nottingham Panthers.
The Blaze iced the same side that played in the opening game against the Manchester Storm. Jackson Whistle got the start in goal for the Panthers, who were also missing Robert Lachowicz.
After a couple of early looks for the Panthers, the Blaze took the lead on a delayed penalty when first-year pro Tristan Keck was on hand to fire the puck home for his first pro goal from a rebound from Whistle, after good work from Nick Jermain at 1.34.
As the period approached the halfway point, the Panthers had a good opportunity to draw level but the puck did not settle for Kevin Domingue. Whistle then pulled off a spectacular double save to deny Ross Venus.
The Blaze doubled their lead when Nicolai Bryhnisveen fired the puck home from the point from a pass from Alex Forbes at 10.22, before Whistle pulled off another point-blank save from David Clements.
The Blaze got the first powerplay of the night when Brendan Ellis was given a two-minute penalty for cross-checking and, after Whistle denied Simen Andre Edvardsen, the Blaze made it 3-0 when Sam Duggan tipped home a shot from Jermain after a great pass from Ivan Antonov at 16.36.
Both sides continued to create chances in the second period, with Keck and Antonov among those denied by Whistle and Shane Owen standing strong in the Blaze net, before the Panthers finished the period on the powerplay after Alex Forbes was given a two-minute penalty for tripping at 19.29.
The third period saw the Panthers pressing forward looking for a way back into the game and, after a period of sustained pressure, they finally broke Owen's shutout when Kevin Domingue scored from close range on the back door at 53.37.
But with the outstanding Whistle pulled for the extra skater as the game wound down, and the Blaze on the penalty kill for the final 58 seconds, the Panthers could not find another goal and the win went to the Blaze.
After taking three points from the opening weekend, the Blaze next face the Sheffield Steelers on Wednesday at 7pm in the Elite Series.
All of the action will be streamed live online via: eliteleague.tv