Match report

Second cup defeat for Blaze

The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze suffered a second successive Challenge Cup defeat at the hands of the Guildford Flames, losing 5-1 in the first competitive game of the season at the Skydome Arena.

Still without import duo Ryan Penny and Joey Raats, and with two-way defenceman Sam Russell in the line-up again, the Blaze absorbed some early pressure before being awarded the first powerplay of the evening. Unable to make the most of the man advantage, the Blaze ended an entertaining but scoreless first period on another powerplay but again could not convert the chance.

The Blaze finally broke the deadlock as the game approached the halfway point, when Evan Bloodoff combined well with new import forward Alec Marsh and fired the puck past Flames netminder Kevin Lindskoug at 27.04.

The game became more physical as the period progressed and the Flames were soon on equal terms thanks to GB international Robert Lachowicz, who beat Blaze netminder CJ Motte with a great backhand goal at 31.04.

Less than two minutes later, the Flames took the lead when a pass through the neutral zone found Levi Cable on a breakaway, and he fired past Motte at 32.55.

With the Flames leading 2-1, the Blaze started the third period on the powerplay, but conceded a shorthanded goal when Ian McNulty found the net at 40.56. McNulty then turned provider, setting up Cable for this second goal of the night at 45.10.

And just over four minutes later the Flames scored their fifth when McNulty fired home on the powerplay at 49.13.

With both sides continuing to play physically, the Blaze managed to kill of 29 seconds of five-on-three but could not find another goal, with defenceman Nathanael Halbert denied late on.

Cable was named man-of-the-match for the Flames, while Johnny Curran took the award for the Blaze.

HC Danny Stewart