"Gutsy" Blaze performance ends in defeat
Following a narrow 2-1 pre-season defeat to the Sheffield Steelers at the Sheffield Arena, Genting Casino Coventry Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart praised his depleted squad for putting in a “Gutsy” performance on Saturday night.
Blaze travelled to the reigning Elite League Playoff Champions without defenceman Kevin Noble and forward trio Garrett Ladd, Ben Lake and Marco Vallerand.
Former DEL top-scorer, Adam Courchaine however made his welcome debut, with Danick Paquette and Ross Venus also returning to the line-up. Jordan Stokes on a two-way contract with Telford Tigers, and Gareth O'Flaherty guesting from Milton Keynes Thunder, further helped to bolster the Coventry line-up.
The first period flew by in exhibition style, but following a huge hit from Paquette on Steelers' Zack Fitzgerald the game then caught fire.
With the pair squaring off in a titanic battle following the collision, each received 5 minutes for fighting at 29.11.
After serving his penalty and with the game still tied at 0-0, Paquette was to clash knees with an opponent ruling him out for the remainder of the game.
As temperatures heated up British pair Davey Phillips of Sheffield and Ross Venus of Coventry were also given 5 minute fighting penalties as the second period ended scoreless.
With the short-staffed Blaze squad tiring, the breakthrough finally came for the home side on 47.14. Levi Nelson registering before Tim Wallace made it two on the powerplay at 50.44.
Whilst short-handed, Coventry's efforts were well rewarded with 2.24 left, Player/Assistant Coach Brett Robinson scoring for the third pre-season game in a row for a final score of 2-1.
Danny Stewart said, "It was as gutsy of a performance as I've seen in some time. We played good hockey all night. I thought Nasti was great in net and our D kept things simple. We absorbed some pressure late in the game and we knew that would come but considering we're missing so many key guys I'm thrilled with our performance."