Five-star Blaze hand Devils Cup defeat
Five goals and a man-of-the-match performance by netminder Jamie Phillips saw the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze defeat the Cardiff Devils 5-1 in the Challenge Cup at the Skydome Arena.
The Blaze were again missing defenceman Dillon Eichstadt from the line-up, while the Devils were without long-term injury victims Evan Mosey and Joey Martin as well as Blair Riley.
The first period saw the Devils get into penalty trouble early, giving up a powerplay opportunity after just 11 seconds before presenting Coventry with a five-on-three chance just after six minutes into the period. The Blaze thought they capitalised on the two-man advantage through Drew Schiestel, but the referees reviewed the incident and ruled the Blaze captain’s shot had not found the net.
However, the home side eventually took the lead through a rocket of a shot from defenceman Justin Hamonic at 12.43. After Phillips had pulled off an excellent stop to deny Devils’ man-of-the-match Stephen Dixon at the back door, the Blaze doubled their lead when Evan Bloodoff fired home a rebound on the powerplay after Luke Ferrara’s initial shot had been saved. The Blaze finished the first period having outshot the Devils by 18 shots to three.
Less than three minutes had gone in the second period when Coventry scored another powerplay goal through Schiestel, which means both he and Bloodoff have now recorded at least a point in each of their first six EIHL competition appearances for the club. The Blaze added a fourth when Andrew Johnston found the net following good play by Chris and Matt Pohlkamp at 34.37.
Having not given up a penalty in the first two periods, the Blaze found themselves on the penalty kill early in the third period and Cardiff capitalised on the man advantage through Sean Bentivoglio at 45.24. The Blaze thought they had scored a fifth at 52.01 but the effort was again washed off by the officials.
With less than five minutes to play the Devils found themselves on the powerplay again. Coach Andrew Lord pulled netminder Ben Bowns for the extra skater as they sought a way back into the game. But after the penalty expired, Cardiff couldn’t get Bowns back between the pipes and Alex Forbes capitalised, scoring an empty net goal at 57.50 which sealed the Blaze victory.