Wild night in Cardiff ends in defeat
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze fell to their third Challenge Cup defeat in a row, going down in an ill-tempered affair against the Cardiff Devils at Ice Arena Wales by a score of 6-3.
Cardiff came out the stronger forcing the best out of Brian Stewart in the Blaze net. A failed attack from Coventry sent Cardiff up the ice, Morrissette shooting on Stewart with the rebound bouncing off Joey Martin and into the net for 1-0 at 9.07. Blaze had extended time 5-on-3 but were unable to make it count going into the first intermission down by the single goal.
The middle period started with Blaze taking the first of four penalties, three they killed but the first was punished after nice play by Layne Ulmer behind the net leading to Martin’s second at 21.01.
Blaze then reacted with a number of high intensity shifts, being rewarded by Bjorn Bombis assisting Darcy Zajac for 2-1 at 22.34. The three minor penalties followed for Blaze, with the kills gaining momentum to end the period on the front foot.
With Blaze on the powerplay early in the final 20 minutes, two shorthanded goals from Cardiff’s Morissette (44.15) and Culligan (45.39) all but killed the game at 4-1. With the tide totally turned, Andrew Hotham made it 5-1 at 46.25, bringing Renny Marr into the Blaze net in relief of Brian Stewart.
The game then turned physical with Cardiff's Patrick Bordeleau having words with the Blaze bench before going down on the ice bleeding from the nose. Referee Mike Hicks called Garrett Klotz for a game misconduct high sticking, the incensed Bordeleau also receiving a 2+2 and game misconduct.
Cardiff’s Mark Louis on the next shift looked to send a message, unwisely though taking a 2+10 checking to the head penalty, along with the double minor to Borderlau leading to a couple of Blaze powerplay goals, first from Josh Godfrey at 48.03 then 11 seconds later through Brett Robinson getting a tip from another Godfrey shot (48.24).
With three minutes left in the game Brian Stewart who had returned to the ice in place of Marr was pulled for the extra skater leaving Andrew Hotham to seal the win for the home side, 6-3 scoring into the empty net at 57.07.
Two earlier scorers in the game, Zajac and Hotham then dropped the gloves to end the hot tempered affair, both receiving 5 for fighting.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "We put ourselves under fire again with too many penalties. But saying that coming into the (second period) break at 2-1 we were in a hockey game. It was a way better second period when we managed to stay 5 on 5 but unfortunately two shorthanded goals in a minute and a half really killed us and they obviously got a powerplay goal shortly after that. But again, we found a way to claw back a couple of goals to get back into it. It was one of those nights, just too many events going back and forth and things just didn't go our way."