Photo credit: David Williams
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze jumped at the opportunity to replace the Manchester Storm and take on the Cardiff Devils at Ice Arena Wales on Wednesday night and skated away with a 4-3 victory.
With Manchester receiving a positive COVID test, precautions were taken for them to remain at home, and the Blaze stepped in to allow the Devils to play the home game.
Earlier in the day, the Blaze had also had their opponents drop out of their scheduled home fixture, as the Fife Flyers entered the Elite League’s COVID-19 protocol.
In South Wales, the Blaze, who had not played for ten days took an early lead through Finn Janne Kivilahti who beat Devils netminder Mac Carruth five-hole at 5.41.
Cardiff were awarded a penalty shot on seven minutes, but goalie C.J. Motte stood tall to deny Josh Lammon.
Brodie Dupont tied the game at 16.35 turning and throwing a speculative effort at goal which found its way past Motte to make it 1-1 at the end of period one.
The second period started as the game began with Blaze getting ahead early. Defenceman Nate Halbert hammering home a shot for 2-1 at 23.24.
With 34 seconds of the period remaining Man of the Match Luke Ferrara struck on the powerplay to give the visitors a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
The Devils responded quickly in the third period with Lammon making up for his earlier penalty shot miss scoring to make it 3-2 at 42.08.
The Blaze though hit back right away with Ferrara beating Carruth again through the legs to regain the two-goal lead at 43.07.
With Carruth pulled for the extra skater, the Devils were able to get within one goal when Brodie Reid scored at 57.01, but the Blaze weren’t to be denied what head coach Danny Stewart described as a “character win” afterwards.