Impressive road victory for Blaze in Manchester
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze bounced back from a disappointing first weekend in the Elite League with an emphatic 0-5 victory on the road against Patton Conference rivals Manchester Storm.
Turning away 21 shots, Blaze netminder Kevin Nastiuk registered his first shut-out of the season in a game dominated by the away side.
Despite being hopeful of a return for the fixture, Canadian forward Danick Paquette remained side-lined alongside American teammate Garrett Ladd.
Following a 15 minute delay to face-off due to a Blaze shot smashing a pane of plexi-glass in warm-up, Danny Stewart's men took an early lead through Marco Vallerand at 3.45. The unassisted strike made it four consecutive games against the Storm with a goal for the Canadian, giving Coventry a 0-1 advantage after twenty minutes of play.
Early in the second period, Manchester netminder Mike Clemente was caught napping behind his goal by Blaze's Luke Ferrara, the Brit finding his countryman Ross Venus who fired home for 0-2 at 22.05.
Ferrara, a Playoff winner with the Sheffield Steelers last season was then to be rewarded with a goal of his own. The forward digging away at the back door on 33.23, forcing the puck behind Clemente for a deserved 0-3 lead.
Marco Vallerand made it four shortly after with his second of the night timed at 34.58. His line with Ryan Dingle and Adam Courchaine causing the Storm defence a headache all night long.
It looked as though the third period would play out without any further major incident when Linden Springer went after Blaze's Ross Venus following a slash in the corner picking up a 5+game penalty for fighting.
A further minor penalty to Storm's Matt Stanisz then put Blaze on a full two minute 5-on-3 powerplay. Captain, and Coventry Man of the Match Jordan Pietrus with a laser shot continued his fine early season form and ended the night's scoring 0-5 on 54.26.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "It was good for these guys to get a win under their belts tonight. This is a difficult barn to play in, against a tough team so we are very pleased with the result. I thought for the most part we did a lot of good things. In the second we got a bit sloppy with the puck and 'Nasti' (Kevin Nastiuk) had to make a couple big stops. In saying that we were clinical, and in the third we played a smart period to close out the game. We now move on to Braehead tomorrow back home."