Powerplay treble beats Blaze in Manchester
Three powerplay goals helped the Manchester Storm to a 4-3 victory over the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze in Altrincham on Valentine's night.
Without Luke Ferrara and Adam Courchaine through injury, British forward Nathan Salem came into the Blaze line-up on loan from Peterborough Phantoms.
The Elite League's top-point scorer Mike Hammond opened the scoring early for the home side on a 2-on-1 opportunity (5.32).
The game was tied quickly though with Ross Venus winning a race into the corner, finding Gaelan Patterson, the usual defenceman playing forward for the night beating Mike Clemente right out in front for 1-1 (6.05).
Whilst short-handed, Coventry Captain Jordan Pietrus then gave his team a 1-2 lead, extending his point-scoring streak against the Storm to six games. The Canadian firing home on a 2-on-1 at 11.24.
The advantage didn't last long as the league's leading goal-scorer Luke Moffatt registered his first of two on the powerplay for 2-2 (12.50).
Coventry though weren't to be deterred going on to take another lead before the first period was done. Marco Vallerand finishing a beautiful passing move also involving Ben Lake and Ryan Dingle for 2-3 (13.57).
The second was a more cagey affair with defences tightening up and the physical play rising. The major talking point a 5+game slashing penalty to Blaze's Danick Paquette, argued vehemently by the forward and his Captain.
Despite the hard-working visitors managing to kill the five minutes, a further minor immediately after led to the second powerplay marker for Manchester's Moffatt (35.09) tying the game at 3-3.
A third goal with the man advantage, and what turned out to be the game-winner came from Manchester's Scott Pitt on 46.06.
As per much of the night, the remainder of the game was littered with penalties, Brett Robinson and Ryan Trenz noticeably each receiving 2+10, overall the Storm going 3/8 and Blaze 0/5.
Try as they might, Coventry couldn't find a fourth way past Clemente as Manchester skated away with a seventh consecutive Elite League victory.