Dunbar hattrick helps Flames to Skydome victory
Still reeling from the effects of a 9-1 defeat the night before, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze were again beaten 4-7 by the Guildford Flames at the Skydome Arena on Sunday night.
Blaze began the game without top-scorer Marco Vallerand and Luke Ferrara through injury whilst defenceman Kevin Noble sat out the first of a two game suspension. Danny Stewart returned to lead the Coventry bench after a one game ban as British forward Nathan Salem from the NIHL’s Peterborough Phantoms was brought in to bolster the line-up.
The first period began as per the night previous for Blaze as their opponents jumped out to a 0-3 lead.
John Dunbar, who ended with a hattrick opened the scoring (5.36), Kruise Reddick making it two on the powerplay (8.52), Jesse Craige then hitting the third (13.30).
Playoff winner with the Sheffield Steelers last season, Geoff Walker then stretched the Guildford advantage to four (23.35) before a Blaze fightback.
Brett Robinson (24.15) and Dorian Peca on the powerplay (26.17) opening his account for the club made it a 4-2 game but Dunbar grabbed the momentum back for Flames scoring short-handed (28.54).
Following great work by Coventry Man of the Match Salem, Captain Jordan Pietrus registered just after the half-way mark (30.38) for 3-5 to end the second period.
A hattrick goal from Dunbar (47.20) all but ended the contest before Rhett Rachinski with Flames’ second powerplay goal made sure of the two points (48.36).
A consolation from Gaelan Patterson (58.25) gave a final score of 4-7 as former Blaze goalie Brian Stewart skated off the Skydome ice to a resounding reception.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “It was a very tough weekend. I made me feelings clear last night where there was a lack of effort and disinterest. Tonight, you could tell from the start that we were still feeling the effects. We’re a team that rides the waves, we’re feeling the effects of last night and we spot them four goals, then we get one and two and all of a sudden we look like a hockey team again. Going into the third we’re in a hockey game but as soon as they got that 6th the heads go down and the belief goes away. In stretches like this the only people who are going to get us through this is the guys in that room. When you’re down and stressed and not playing with confidence guys start doubting themselves and you can see that in our game at the moment.”