Blaze grab huge win in playoff race
A short-benched Genting Casino Coventry Blaze side secured a huge 1-3 victory in their push for an Elite League playoff spot on Saturday.
With Braehead Clan 6 points ahead of Blaze in the final playoff spot (8th) before puck drop, a victory for Danny Stewart's men was crucial in Glasgow.
Without Luke Ferrara, Adam Courchaine, Dorian Peca (injured) and Danick Paquette (suspended 1 game), the visitors were boosted by the news that their opponents too were missing a number of key players, including Tyler Shattock, Michal Gutwald, Craig Peacock (injured) and top-scorer Brendan Brooks (sickness).
Coventry got off to the worst possible start as Tyler Scofield beat Kevin Nastiuk on the first shot of the game just 9 seconds in.
The Blaze goalie gained his composure quickly though, remaining strong in the early going as Clan looked for a second.
Despite the heavy pressure on Nastiuk's net it was Blaze who found an equaliser, Ben Lake sneaking a puck past Ryan Nie at 6.54 for 1-1.
After being out-shot 17-5 in the opening period, Coventry levelled the play far more in the second putting 10 shots on Nie, compared to the 6 on Nastiuk.
There was no scoring though with the middle twenty minutes becoming a rather scrappy, penalty filled affair between two short-benched sides, desperate for the two points.
With Braehead adding Cameron Burt to their injured list, the all-important game-winner came from Blaze's British forward Ross Venus (53.29).
Following a time-out, Nie was pulled late from the Clan goal in search of the equaliser. It wasn't to be though as Coventry's top-scorer Marco Vallerand registered his 31st of the season in all Elite League competitions into the empty net to secure a 1-3 victory with just 6 seconds remaining.
The win means Blaze now sit 4 points behind Braehead in 8th with a game in hand.
HC Danny Stewart
Skip to after Braehead vs. Fife.