Blaze edged out by Panthers
Patrick Galbraith stopped 38 of 39 shots as the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze were edged out 1-2 by the Nottingham Panthers at the Skydome Arena.
It was the second game running that Blaze fell to the same opponents by a single goal, not helped by the absence of the Elite League’s top goal-scorer Marco Vallerand.
With the league implementing a four man officiating system from January onwards, Mike Hicks and Matt Thompson took charge awarding Nottingham three powerplay attempts in the opening period, all well killed by the Blaze.
All of the scoring happened in the second twenty minutes. Evan Mosey, the late game winning hero from 30th December capitalising on a Coventry turn-over to make it 0-1 (22.48).
Blaze Assistant Captain Ryan Dingle tied the game on the powerplay (29.22), the home side going 1/4 overall.
On the half way mark a stunning save by Blaze Man of the Match Kevin Nastiuk had Panthers Captain Stevie Lee looking up to the heavens. The Canadian goalie managing to dive and glove the Brits shot at what looked like a wide open net.
The game-winning-goal for Nottingham did come though on 37.49. With the man advantage, the visitors making the most of a fortunate block of a clearing attempt to make it 1-2. British forward Brett Perlini scoring Panthers only powerplay goal from 5 attempts, Mark Derlago the main architect.
Posting 11 shots compared to their opponents 4 in the final period, Blaze fought hard for an equaliser but the excellent Galbraith stood strong celebrating with a big fist bump as the buzzer sounded for a 1-2 final score.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "I feel for the guys in the room as the last four games they have put in the work. The performances have been there but it's such a fine line this year with such good hockey teams. I think we've lost 12 games by the one goal and we have got to find a way to start turning those into results. We have got to believe that if we keep putting in performances like we did tonight then those results will start turning into wins."