Blaze take point from Elite Series opener
The Coventry Blaze fought back from two goals down to take a point from their opening Elite Series game, eventually losing 3-2 to the Manchester Storm in overtime.
The Blaze were without forward Luke Ferrara (playing in Poland) and the injured Paul Swindlehurst but welcomed first draft-pick Mike Hammond into the team. The Storm had former Blaze players Ben Lake and Ben Davies in a full strength line-up.
The first period saw both sides create chances but it was the Storm who took the lead when Ciaran Long fired the puck past Blaze netminder Shane Owen at 13.01 following a good pass from behind the net from Ben Davies.
The second period saw the Blaze forward line of Hammond and first year pros Nick Jermain and Tristan Keck create two excellent scoring chances inside the first minute but they were unable to find a way past Storm netminder Sean Bonar.
Despite the Blaze having the better of the second period, it was the Storm who scored the game's second goal as the period drew to a close. With Janne Laakkonen in the penalty box for hooking, the Storm took advantage of the powerplay chance when a Dallas Ehrhardt shot was tipped in front by Scott Simmonds at 38.27.
The Storm failed to convert an early powerplay opportunity in the third period, before the Blaze finally got on the scoreboard when Norwegian forward Simen Andre Edvardson fired the puck home on the back door after a great pass from Laakkonen on the powerplay at 46.58.
With both sides creating chances, the Blaze drew level with just under two minutes to go when Hammond skated through centre ice before firing home at 58.03.
Each team had a chance to win it at the death, with Josh Batch hitting the Blaze crossbar before Nicolai Bryhnisveen was denied by Bonar with four seconds left.
In overtime, both netminders make great saves, Owen particularly denying a one-on-one before Lake secured the extra point for the Storm at 64.14.
HC Danny Stewart post-game
The Blaze play their first "home" game of the series against the Nottingham Panthers tomorrow at 7pm.
The Elite Series will be played behind closed doors at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham.
All of the action will be streamed live online via: eliteleague.tv