Vipers Playoff game to premiere on Sunday
This weekend, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze were supposed to be competing in the Elite League playoff quarterfinals for a place in the final four in Nottingham.
Unfortunately, that isn’t to be however we are pleased to announce that our next YouTube premiere game will be arguably the most exciting in our history – the playoff quarterfinal from 2007 vs. the Newcastle Vipers.
As per our previous premiere (the 2005 playoff final), the highlights of this encounter have never been online before, let alone the full exhilarating game.
It’s a game Head Coach Danny Stewart describes as; “One of the best games I ever had personally and also one of the best games I played in!”
The 2006/07 season saw the Blaze make wholesale changes to the previous year’s team who had struggled to maintain the vastly high standards of the 2004/05 Grandslam team.
In came vastly experienced winners Sylvain Cloutier, Reid Simonton, Samy Nasreddine, former NHL tough-guy Rumun Ndur and the gritty Stewart for his first season with the organisation.
Barrie Moore who proved a mid-season signing hit the previous year returned along with the dynamic duo of Dan Carlson and Adam Calder who had both departed after the Grand-Slam to spend time in Germany and Sweden respectively.
Captain Ashley Tait and Neal Martin remained whilst coach Thompson secured a real coup with the signing of all-star netminder Trevor Koenig who had miraculously led the Newcastle Vipers to a second-place league finish and playoff victory the year previous.
On paper it was one of Blaze’s strongest ever teams, but they took time to gel as the reigning Champions, Belfast Giants rode out to a 11-point lead by Christmas.
With Coventry hammering the Giants 8-0 at the Skydome in February, the tide had well and truly turned and as Belfast’s lead evaporated, Coventry took over and with victory against Edinburgh, Paul Thompson’s Blaze were crowned Elite League Champions for the second time in three years.
A week later a second trophy was in the cabinet – an exemplary 5-1 win in Sheffield (9-4 aggregate) brought the Challenge Cup back to Coventry.
A shock 0-3 defeat to Cardiff Devils in the Knock-out Cup final meant a second Grand-Slam was out of reach, but with a triple-crown on the line, Blaze found themselves up against the playoff holders Newcastle Vipers to begin their playoff quest.
The Vipers led by Rob Wilson, who later went on to be coach of the year in the DEL, had struggled to match their success of the previous year finishing 8th and just inside the playoff places. They were though built to intimidate, which had caused quite the rivalry with an equally feisty Blaze side.
Not least since Thompson had also persuaded Michael Takser to leave the Vipers and re-join the Blaze just 7 games into the season.
Tough-guys Paul Ferone, Jeremy Cornish, Jason Robinson (later to join Blaze) and former Coventry Grand-Slammer Andre Payette offered the significant muscle, but they also had plenty of quality particularly in Great British stars Jonathan Weaver (also later to join Blaze) and David Longstaff.
Imports Cory Morgan and Rod Hinks led the offence, both scoring more than 20 goals over the regular season and with Peter Aubry in net, a goalie who had beaten Blaze in the previous year’s Challenge Cup final whilst with Cardiff Devils, Thompson’s men knew they were in for a battle.
That became evidently clear when in the first leg of the quarter final, the Vipers and Aubry shut-out the Blaze to take a narrow 1-0 lead to the Skydome Arena for the second leg on 1st April 2007.
What happened on that night is the stuff of legend.
Join us at 4pm on Sunday to watch the game ‘as live’ and in full.
Trust us, you do not want to miss this one.
Win a framed #35 Koenig jersey
Win an authentic player-issue #35 Trevor Koenig professionally framed home jersey from our double winning 2006/07 Elite League season.
This amazing jersey has been donated to us by the Blaze Booster Club via Exmedia and the Ross Venus Testimonial Committee.
In his first season of two with the Blaze, Koenig posted a phenomenal save-percentage of over 93% helping the club to win a second Elite League Championship and Challenge Cup. He was named a first all-star in the end of season awards.
Tickets £2 each.
Win half of the takings in the 2007 quarter-final Blaze vs. Vipers 50/50 draw (after 10% site commission). Our first online 50/50 winner (for the 2005 playoff final premiere) won over £350! It could be YOU this time!