Four goal Fretter sends Blaze to defeat
Four goals from Sheffield Steelers’ Colton Fretter sent Genting Casino Coventry Blaze crashing to a 2-8 home ice defeat.
Following a 4-5 overtime road victory in Manchester, despite the continued absence of defenceman Kevin Noble, hopes were high for Danny Stewart’s side as they entertained the title chasing Sheffield Steelers at the Skydome Arena.
The Yorkshire side though came out the strongest, taking a two goal lead to the locker room to end the opening twenty minutes. Fretter (4.34) scoring his opening goal of the four, and Great Britain International Robert Dowd registering his first of two on the night (19.36).
A spirited start to the second period led to a first Blaze goal. Robin Bergman, who later picked up the January Player of the Month award scoring on the powerplay at 24.10 (1-2).
Lifted by the goal and a raised Skydome atmosphere, Coventry pushed for an equaliser, Ervins Mustukovs in the Sheffield net, frustratingly keeping the home side at bay.
Then came a sucker-punch at 34.43, Dowd fighting off the attention of two Blaze defencemen to beat Stewart for a second time to make it 1-3. Sheffield’s Man of the Match, Fretter then doubled his goal tally for the evening at 43.25 before Marc Cantin responded for Coventry at 50.26 (2-4).
The game then turned physical with Luke Ferrara of the Steelers sitting for two-minutes interference following an altercation with Brian Stewart in the Blaze net.
The raised tensions lead to a scrap at 51.06. Garrett Klotz and Gui Desbiens dropping the gloves in an extended bout. The Blaze man receiving 2+10 for checking from behind, the Sheffield combatant getting the 2+10 instigator penalty, both also sitting 5 minutes for fighting.
Once action got underway again, the Steelers then took over the game. Mathieu Roy scoring at 51.34, before Fretter netted his hatrick on 52.26 for a 2-6 game, wildly celebrated by Zack Fitzgerald who held his arms aloft mid-ice enraging the 2,300 plus Coventry crowd.
Referee Tom Pering handed the Sheffield tough-guy a game misconduct, later vilified by Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart who said, “The Sheffield Steelers are a good enough hockey team that they don’t need to be doing stuff like that, it’s a mockery of the game.”
Rubbing salt into the Coventry wound, Fretter registered his fourth (55.16) and with Renny Marr replacing Stewart in goal for Blaze, Roy struck again (59.03) for a final score of 2-8.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I’m really disappointed. It’s probably the angriest I’ve been all season. We lost our composure. 2-4, Klotzy goes out and shows great passion. That’s a tough boy he fought and it should rally our guys up but next shift we go out and lose a battle in front of our net, 2-5 and game over. The we shut off from there. We felt sorry for ourselves and hung our heads. I’m really annoyed.”