Blaze put first Challenge Cup point on the board
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze travelled to Guildford’s spectrum for the first time in 13 years, battling through much adversity to secure a first point in the Challenge Cup.
Fighting back from 3-0 and 4-2 down to end the 60 minutes at 4-4, Blaze were also forced to defend eight minor penalties against, the Flames managing to score just once on the man advantage.
Rhett Rachinski was the only scorer in an even opening period (1.04) which saw the home side take a 1-0 lead to the dressing room.
The middle twenty minutes were a very different story with Guildford dominating proceedings. Not helped by six minor penalties against and a ten-minute misconduct to Ben Lake, Blaze were down 3-0 before the half-way mark. Tomas Nechala (23.44) and Kruise Reddick (26.37) with Flames’ lone powerplay marker the scorers.
Being heavily outshot 15-4 in the second, Coventry came out in the third with a rejuvenated attitude looking to pull-back some momentum. Player/Assistant Coach Brett Robinson (44.04) registered first for 3-1, his 50th goal for the club in all competitions. Captain Jordan Pietrus then made it 3-2 on the powerplay (45.21), giving Blaze belief.
A further set-back came shortly after though (47.58) when Coventry’s Player of the Season last year, Liam Stewart restored his new sides two goal advantage (4-2), Ben Campbell and Brennan Yadlowski both picking up their second assist on the marker.
Man of the Match Robinson gave Coventry life again (53.35), scoring his second on the powerplay to make it 4-3. Pietrus picking up his third point of the night, and Vallerand his second assist.
In dramatic fashion, the game was tied just seconds later, British forward Ross Venus unassisted (54.02) for 4-4 which is the way it remained as the buzzer sounded for 3-on-3 overtime.
It didn’t take long for Guildford to find the winner. Their Man of the Match Brett Ferguson showing good speed on the open ice beating Kevin Nastiuk in close for a final score of 5-4.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I will start with the positives. I loved our fight back. The guys got their focus back in between periods and focused on our game plan. In saying that, I felt that we beat ourselves tonight. We played almost the entirety of the 2nd period short. Especially on the road, we must play smarter. What’s done is done, but our discipline needs to be better, and hopefully the way this game went, it should be clear to us as a group the importance of it!”