Pietrus leads Blaze to 4 point weekend
A double strike from Captain Jordan Pietrus helped lead a short-benched Genting Casino Coventry Blaze side to a 2-4 victory in Edinburgh, completing a four-point weekend against Scottish opposition.
The Blaze fought heavy snow to make it to Murrayfield without Ryan Dingle, Gustav Ahnelov, Brett Robinson and Danick Paquette. British forward Gareth O'Flaherty who helped the night before also not icing.
Following a delay to the face-off due to Coventry's late arrival, the home side started the stronger. Juris Upitis scoring the opening goal (2.59) before a contentious strike from Nikita Kolesnikov made it 2-0 (3.58). Blaze goalie Kevin Nastiuk seemingly arguing that the puck had entered his goal via the side-netting. After some consultation, the effort was given by referee Steve Brown much to the displeasure of Coventry Head Coach Danny Stewart.
The Midlands side had much the better of the first period play from then on. Putting 16 shots on Pavel Shegalo in the Capitals net, compared to Edinburgh’s 8 (22-35 overall), Blaze got their just rewards right before the opening twenty minutes ended. Ben Lake registering on the powerplay with the assist going to Marco Vallerand (19.43).
Blaze began the second as they ended the first, piling pressure on the Edinburgh net. It took until just past the half-way mark for Shegalo to be beaten again though. The overtime hero from Saturday, Pietrus shooting through the legs of the Capitals goalie from long-range to tie the game at two. Gaelan Patterson and Ross Venus picking up the helpers (31.08).
Despite Coventry being on top, Nastiuk was forced to pull off two excellent stops, particularly to deny Upitis a second sending the teams to their respective dressing rooms with the scoreboard reading 2-2 after 40 minutes.
Pietrus, who was later named Man of the Match gave his side a well-deserved 2-3 lead on 48.13, Patrik Moisio registering his first point for the club with the assist.
The scoring was wrapped up at 48.43, Marco Vallerand making it 8 games on the trot with a goal after outstanding build-up play by earlier scorer Lake and Adam Courchaine.
Before the game was to end, Nikita Kolesnikovs and Kevin Noble came together following a big hit by the Blaze defenceman, the Latvian being accessed a 2+2 roughing and 10-minute misconduct penalty. Noble receiving 2 roughing, and Nastiuk also getting 2 holding for getting involved to split the two apart.
The 2-4 victory was Coventry’s first win in 4 attempts at Murrayfield with Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart reflecting, "It was a hell of a job from these guys this weekend. We battled through very tough circumstances and found a way to get a crucial 4 points. I'd also like to say a specific thank you to our fans who managed to make their way up here to support us. It's appreciated by everyone."