Steelers overcome Blaze at FlyDSA Arena
Despite a gallant third period fight-back, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze suffered a 4-3 defeat to the Sheffield Steelers at the Fly DSA Arena on Saturday night.
With an NXT wrestling event taking place at the Skydome, Blaze who were unable to skate towards the end of last week got off to a sluggish start and Anthony DeLuca gave the home side a deserved 1-0 lead after 20 minutes (14.51).
The first wasn't without other incident though as Sheffield's Jordan Owens was assessed a 5+game penalty for checking to the head of Coventry's and the league's leading point-scorer Ben Lake. Following the hit, Owens was forced to drop the gloves with Blaze's David Clements, the pair each receiving 5 minutes for fighting, and Clements a 2+10 extra for instigation.
Coming out of the fracas with a 3 minute powerplay, the Blaze were left frustrated with themselves as John Armstrong showing good speed managed to get away from the Coventry defence, rounding Matt Hackett to make it 2-0 shorthanded (22.53).
Blaze got on the board shortly after (26.52) though Norwegian defenceman Nicolai Bryhnisveen scoring his 11th of the season, assisted superbly by Kevin Noble and Dominik Florian.
Just past the half-way mark it was 3-1 as DeLuca grabbed a second (31.16). With two powerplay opportunities coming and going, it looked all but game over for Blaze when Josh McFadden made it 4-1 at 46.35.
However, as has become standard for this year's Coventry side, they never gave up and at 49.27, Lake with his 29th of the season making it 4-2 gave them hope.
On 51.05, there was a flashpoint in the game as Sheffield's Eric Neiley invaded Hackett's crease, with the Blaze netminder responding in kind, the two each receiving 5 for fighting following the scuffle, the goalies penalty being sat by Florian.
With the clock ticking down, Captain Kevin Morris registered from close-range for 4-3 (57.53) but despite pulling Hackett, the Steelers led by British netminder Jackson Whistle who stopped 32 of 35 shots, held firm, giving the home side the two points.
HC Danny Stewart