Milestone point in vain for Blaze
Despite holding a 2-0 lead and a significant assist for Ashley Tait, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze fell to a sixth consecutive defeat at the hands of the Nottingham Panthers.
Both teams went into the game missing key players. Blaze minus Shawn Boutin and Ben Davies, Panthers without Geoff Waugh, Jeff Dimmen, David Clarke and star netminder Miika Wiikman. Czech goalie Henry Pacl, later involved in a much talked about incident starting in net for the Panthers.
Blaze were ahead early in the game, a memorable goal for 41-year-old forward Ashley Tait. Jim Jorgensen the scorer at 2.05, assisted by the Great Brit, his 700th point in Elite League competition, becoming the first player to reach the impressive milestone.
T.J Syner doubled the home sides advantage at 20.29, his 7th goal for the club, much to the delight of a packed out Skydome Arena (2,806 in attendance).
Nottingham though hit back through Dan Spang (28.56) and Eric Lindhagen (32.47), former NHLer Brian McGrattan grabbing an assist on both goals.
Panthers thought they were ahead at 44.51, following Blaze protest and referee Mike Hicks consulting with his linesman, the goal being disallowed due to a dislodged net.
The game-winning-goal came from the away side just a couple of minutes later. Jeff Brown finding space in front, beating Brian Stewart for 2-3 on 46.36.
With the Blaze goalie pulled, former Stanley Cup winner, Jason Williams registered his 3rd goal in as many games for the Panthers into the empty net (59.37) for a final score of 2-4.
That wasn’t to be the end of the action though. Following the post-game handshakes as the Blaze awaited the presentations, Nottingham goalie Henry Pacl took the opportunity to celebrate in front of the travelling Panthers fans in his usual elaborate style. The 21-year-old, drawing the ire of Coventry defenceman Kevin Noble who had to be escorted off the ice by the game official.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I’m very disappointed. We found a way to lose a hockey game. We beat ourselves plain and simple. We had some good possession in zone and some good looks but we didn’t have enough bodies in front of him (Pacl). He saw everything and he stopped everything. These are tough teams we are playing and we’re right there but we just shoot ourselves in the foot. 2-2 and we have 3 guys caught in the corner, guy wide open in front of the net. Silly mistakes are costing us games, and it costs us again tonight.”
HC Danny Stewart
#22 Marc Cantin
#14 T.J. Syner