Blaze left disappointed in Nottingham defeat
Getting Casino Coventry Blaze dropped out of the Elite League playoff positions with a 4-1 defeat to the Nottingham Panthers at the Motorpoint Arena.
With Kevin Noble, Liam Stewart and Ashley Tait absent from the line-up, Blaze started the brighter. Out-shooting their opponents 10-16, the outstanding Miika Wiikman denying Coventry spectacularly on multiple occasions in the opening 20 minutes.
The dead-lock was finally broken on 37.32, Nottingham defenceman Geoff Waugh beating Brian Stewart in the Blaze goal five-hole for 1-0. Less than a minute later it was 2-0. Panthers' Man of the Match Robert Farmer scoring a pretty solo effort at 38.25.
Blaze finally found a way past Wiikman early in the final period, T.J.Syner's denied shot, followed up by cousin Barry Almeida who made no mistake for 2-1 (45.31).
Stephen Schultz from a sharp angle then registered the only powerplay marker of the game on 48.33 for 3-1, before Blaze hit the Nottingham goal post for a third time.
Following a time-out by both teams, and with Brian Stewart pulled from the Blaze net for the extra skater, Robert Lachowicz ended the scoring into the empty goal (59.20) for a final score of 4-1.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "I felt we deserved better tonight. I feel for the guys as they played as well as they have in quite a while. We were unfortunate to come out of the first 0-0 as I thought we had more than a few great chances to capitalise. We hit three posts and just could not find a way past Wiikman. I think if we score first tonight we are looking at a different result but credit to them as they capitalised on two mistakes in the 2nd and that essentially was the difference. We do it again tomorrow!"