Stewart leads Blaze to Giant victory
Led by a Man of the Match performance from the returning Brian Stewart, Genting Casino Coventry Blaze secured a convincing 4-1 victory over the Belfast Giants on home ice.
Blaze welcomed back Great Britain International Russell Cowley, whilst defenceman Josh Godfrey completed his first 60 minutes in a number of weeks. Matt Selby, who earlier this week agreed a two-way deal with the Swindon Wildcats spent the night with the English Premier League side.
Belfast starting Stephen Murphy in net, sat out Alex Foster with DJ Rutherford returning to the line-up following injury.
Despite being outshot 3-13, it was Blaze who took a lead into the first period break. Brett Robinson with good work on the powerplay, finding Josh Godfrey who hammered his fifth goal of the season, third on the man advantage for 1-0 at 9.11.
Blaze killed two powerplay opportunities to start the middle period, extending their lead to two through Ross Venus with his first of the season, from October Player of Month Liam Stewart at 32.13.
At 53.38 it was 3-0 for the home side, Robinson lifting a Belfast stick, feeding Garrett Klotz who finished well, his third of the year.
Giants got on the board shortly after through top-scorer Mike Forney, assisted by DJ Rutherford at 53.53 for 3-1.
Blaze though held firm, Ross Venus eventually grabbing his second into the empty net at 58.58 for a score of 4-1.
As the clocked ticked down, Belfast’s frustration boiled over with Chris Higgins taking a match penalty for butt-ending with just 16 seconds remaining.
Blaze now look to build on victory in the Elite League with a must-win Challenge Cup game against the Manchester Storm tomorrow night at the Skydome Arena (5.15pm face-off).
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “It was a great team performance for 60 minutes. Stewie (Brian Stwart) made some great saves, our D battled hard, V (Ross Venus) with a couple of goals, Klotzy (Garrett Klotz) gets another one, that scoring from our depth guys is key. I can’t say enough; it was a great performance.”