Blaze end regular season with loss to Flames
Three quick third period goals helped the Guildford Flames to a 3-5 victory over the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze in the final game of the Elite League regular season.
With qualification for the PredictorBet Playoffs secure for both teams, the result meant little except helping to decide the Flames' quarter-final opponent, now confirmed as Sheffield Steelers. None the less, Danny Stewart's Blaze side were keen to continue their hot form in front of a large Skydome crowd as they prepare to meet the Elite League Champions, Cardiff Devils in the playoff quarter-finals.
Wearing special jerseys to celebrate match sponsor's Coventry University Business School's 50-year anniversary, Blaze began the game with student, Kevin Nastiuk between the pipes, countryman and graduate of Coventry University during his time in the Midlands, Brian Stewart starting at the other end for the Flames.
Gaelan Patterson, the defenceman turned forward in recent weeks to cover for the absence of Marco Vallerand and Dorian Peca, continued his fine scoring form, grabbing his 12th of the Elite League season for 1-0 (9.56).
Just seconds later, British forward Ross Venus was unfortunate to lose an edge, falling and being dispossessed of the puck which lead to a John Dunbar equaliser (10.18).
Coventry found themselves in penalty trouble over the second half of the opening period, the kill strong though, sending the sides to their respective locker rooms all square after twenty minutes.
To start the second, with participation in the playoffs confirmed, young British understudy Brython Preece replaced Nastiuk in the Coventry goal.
With a 6'5" presence in each net, despite multiple powerplay opportunities for Blaze, it took until there were just 32 seconds left in the middle period for a lead to be found. It came from Brett Robinson, beating his former teammate Stewart for 2-1 (39.26).
In contrast to the previous two, the third became a wide open affair with the Flames enjoying the far better of it. Brett Ferguson tied the game 2-2 whilst short-handed (53.08), Ryan Dingle then with a deflected effort giving Coventry the advantage again on the powerplay (54.45).
It was 3-3 at 56.33 through Kruise Reddick and the Flames then took over the game. Geoff Walker, a former playoff winner with Sheffield scoring the game-winning-goal seconds after the game-tier (56.51). The outstanding Calle Ackered wrapping up the scoring (57.13) for a final score of 3-5.