Match report

Battling Blaze fall to Steelers

Blaze 3
Steelers 4

Despite a hard fought effort, Genting Casino Coventry Blaze fell 3-4 to the Sheffield Steelers in their second Challenge Cup game of the season.

Blaze went into the game missing influential forward Matt Marquardt who flew back home this week to take upon best man duties at a close friend’s wedding, otherwise both teams were at full strength.

Steelers took an early lead at 2.34, Nilsson feeding Ferrara to tap home from close range. Blaze then spent much of the next ten minutes killing penalties with Jesse Schultz taking full advantage at 9.33, doubling the away sides lead.

Blaze then made a push back, putting the Steelers under a large amount of pressure which finally gained reward as Cantin took advantage of a Valdix penalty, shooting past Ervins Mustukovs in the Sheffield net from the blue-line to end the first period 1-2.

The middle period started much the same as the first with Sheffield scoring early through Schultz, his second of the night at 23.26, and referee Mike Hicks calling numerous penalties on the home side.

Again though Blaze battled back at 36.59 with Liam Stewart picking up on a loose puck from a face-off play, backhanding his first goal for Coventry to make it 2-3. The assist awarded to Russ Cowley on his 700th Elite League appearance for Coventry, his 750th overall including 50 games for Cardiff Devils.

The game was tied again at 45.09, Darcy Zajac netting from Josh Godfrey, Blaze’s second powerplay marker of the game.

The night was though to end in disappointment for Danny Stewart’s men as Mathieu Roy picked up on a rebound to score the game winning goal for Sheffield at 50.04, again on the powerplay.

Try as they might, led by Man of the Match Jordan Pietrus, Blaze were unable to find a further equaliser as the final buzzer sounded to end the game 3-4.

With a win and a defeat on the board in Group B of the Challenge Blaze will next look to pick up a vital victory away from home tomorrow evening against the Manchester Storm.

Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "I thought the guys handled some adversity well tonight. We got overworked on the penalty-kill and gave them too many opportunities. In saying that, we competed and clawed our way back into the game. It was unfortunate not to get something out of tonight but we will re-group and look forward to tomorrow as it's a huge two points towards our goal of advancing to the next stage of the Challenge Cup."

#9 Darcy Zajac post-game

#74 Liam Stewart