Preece backstops Blaze to Cup win
Despite qualification for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup out of their grasp, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze ended the campaign with a convincing 5-2 home victory against the Guildford Flames.
Ian Watters got the away side on the board first (7.00), beating Welshman Brython Preece who got the start in the Blaze net with Canadain Kevin Nastiuk rested.
The 20-year-old stopping 16 of 18 shots over the night, picking up the Man of the Match award. Blaze themselves had 36 attempts on Flames' British keeper Mike Will, usual number one Chris Carrozzi taking a place on the bench for the evening.
The game was tied at 11.51 with Coventry's top-scorer Marco Vallerand scoring short-handed, the assist going to Assistant Captain Ryan Dingle.
On a break-away, Captain Jordan Pietrus made it 2-1 (13.16), the first of three from the skipper who led by example all night.
There was no scoring in a feisty second period which saw Flames' British forward Andrew McKinney and Blaze player/Assistant Coach Brett Robinson clash, the Guildford player who also drew the ire of Danick Paquette later picking up a ten minute abuse of official penalty to end his night.
Marco Vallerand, with his second registered for 3-1 on the powerplay (48.05), before Pietrus added a 4th and 5th, his 2nd and 3rd of the night at 53.19 and 55.20.
Between the third period Pietrus markers, a fight broke out with Brett Ferguson of Guildford taking on Coventry's Ben Lake in a spirited battle between two middle-weights.
Kruise Reddick, with an assist going to former Blaze forward Liam Stewart wrapped up the scoring (58.48) for a final score of 5-2.