Dingle Double Downs Blaze
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart endured a miserable return to Fife Ice Arena as his side fell to a 4-1 defeat in Kirkcaldy.
Despite a milestone marker from assistant/player coach Ashley Tait, a quick-fire Ryan Dingle double in the middle secured the two Elite League points for the Scottish side.
Blaze went into the game missing influential defenceman Marc Cantin after he picked up an injury a week earlier in Cardiff. The Flyers too were short on their blue-line with an import spot unfilled, David Turon and Ric Jackman also absent.
Russ Moyer who won the Elite League Championship with Sheffield Steelers last season scored the opening goal for the home side, on the powerplay at 7.26 following a holding penalty to Bjorn Bombis.
A milestone marker was then to be scored by Blaze's 41-year-old player/assistant coach Ashley Tait, tying the game 1-1 at 8.03. It was the Brits 250th goal in Elite League competitions, a feat reached by only two players before.
A further two penalties followed for Blaze leaving Danny Stewart frustrated with the amount of time his side were spending down a man to end the first period.
At the 25 minute mark, in a significant show of 'hockey family' togetherness, the Fife Flyers fans joined the travelling Blaze contingent in a minutes applause for the Support 25 campaign, which aims to raise funds for former Coventry star Adam Calder in his fight against cancer.
Five minutes later, a nice move by Ryan Dingle put Fife ahead (10.09) before the quick-fire second strike from the Canadian made it 3-1 (12.13). An animated Danny Stewart called a time-out but his side couldn't find a way past Shane Owen in Flyers' net as the clocked ticked down to end the second period.
Fife failed to add to their single powerplay goal on opportunities six and seven (of eight in total) early in the final period, but they did manage to extend the lead shortly after at even strength, Sebastien Thinel the scorer for 4-1.
Looking to spark his team, Blaze Captain Jordan Pietrus dropped the gloves with Brendan Brooks with 13 minutes remaining, both falling to the ice and receiving 5 minutes for fighting.
Coventry had three of their total five powerplay chances in the final stages of the game but were unable to make it count, Darcy Zajac with the best opportunity, stopped well by Man of the Match Owen between the Fife pipes.
For the third game running, Blaze defenceman Josh Godfrey picked up the Man of the Match award for the away side.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "We simply have to be better. Some games we have performed well and lost, but tonight Fife were the better team. Again, we put ourselves under fire through too many penalties. We struggle to get any rhythm in games due to killing too much. We need a spark right now from somewhere and we just need to pick ourselves up and get a result at home."