Blaze exit Cup after Nottingham defeat
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze crashed out of the Challenge Cup following a 2-1 defeat to the Nottingham Panthers at the Motorpoint Arena.
There was a Blaze debut for Great Britain International Ben Davies, whilst Ashley Tait also returned to the line-up.
The Panthers without Stephen Schultz, Chris Lawrence and Geoff Waugh gave a debut to 6'7" Slovakian defenceman Kristian Kudroc.
With Challenge Cup qualification secure, in front of a sparse crowd, Jeff Brown gave Nottingham a 1-0 lead at 4 minutes.
A heavyweight battle then ensued between Blaze's Garrett Klotz and former NHLer Brian McGrattan at 13.01, both men landing big shots before leaving the ice for repairs.
Alex Nikiforuk extended the home sides lead at 25.52, in what was a penalty riddled middle period. Neither team adding to their scoring.
With 9.11 left, Coventry's Kevin Noble and Nottingham's Ollie Betteridge came together, Nikiforuk jumping in to take on the Blaze man, receiving 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct for third man in.
With netminder Brian Stewart pulled, Brett Robinson finally found a way past Jindrich Pacl with five seconds left in the game but it wasn't enough as Panthers skated away with a 2-1 victory.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "It just wasn't good enough, for some reason we got out-worked by a team that had way less to play for than we did. We played well in the third period, but you can't come to Nottingham and play one period and expect to win a hockey game. It's disappointing because we talked all week about how important this game was but there were just too many guys who just did not show up tonight."