Home opener ends in defeat for Blaze
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze began their home Elite League campaign with a 1-4 defeat to the Sheffield Steelers in an entertaining encounter at the Skydome Arena.
Following Saturday’s 6-4 win in Sheffield, the Blaze were at full strength for the return fixture, while the Steelers were missing the suspended Michael Davies and started Tomas Duba in the net.
The game began at a good pace, with each side creating offensive chances and both netminders making some good saves, Duba particularly taking a couple of shots to the helmet. The deadlock was eventually broken at 16.17 when Martin St Pierre made no mistake at the backdoor following a rink-wide pass from Anthony DeLuca.
Sheffield doubled their lead early in the second period when Robert Dowd found the back of the net at 23.52 and that was extended further at 31.52 when former Skydome favourite Marco Vallerand forced a loose puck home after a scramble in the goalmouth. The goal was eventually awarded after review.
The Blaze continued to create chances, with Ross Venus and Andrew Johnston going close, but try as they might, they could not find a way past Duba, and the Steelers made it 4-0 when John Armstrong fired a wrist shot past Jamie Phillips in the Blaze net at 49.18.
Minutes later, Blaze forward David Broll dropped the gloves with the Steelers’ Russian forward Nikolai Lemtyugov, which got the Skydome crowd on its feet and energised the big home following.
With the momentum, Coventry finally found a way past Duba through a well-taken goal by Evan Bloodoff at 52.02, following good work by Charles Corcoran.
Broll was named the Blaze man-of-the-match, while Vallerand took the honours for Sheffield.