Storm prevail in high-scoring pre-season affair
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze fell to an 8-7 overtime defeat to the Manchester Storm in an entertaining back and forth pre-season affair in Altrincham on Wednesday night.
Blaze travelled to the Storm Shelter without forward trio Danick Paquette, Ross Venus and Adam Courchaine. Two-way defenceman Jordan Stokes and guest from the Telford Tigers, brother of former Blaze star Tom, Jack Watkins helped to bolster the line-up.
Following a string of impressive cameo performances in the pre-season games thus far, Brython Preece got the start in net for Danny Stewart's men.
Blaze got on the board first, Brett Robinson from behind the net feeding Ben Lake who beat Mike Clemente with just over 7.30 minutes played.
After being denied a goal by the brand new goal line technology, Storm found their equaliser with 5 minutes left in the opening period. Matt Stanisz beating Preece from the blue-line for 1-1.
With Robinson in the penalty-box, Ryan Dingle broke two-one-one, the Blaze Assistant Captain whilst short-handed feeding Marco Vallerand who made no mistake for 1-2 on the 17 minute mark.
Storm though hit back immediately, former NHLer Jay Rosehill with a big shot on the same powerplay scoring to tie the game at two.
With the clock ticking down to end the first period, Vallerand registered again in what was a carbon copy of his first goal. Garrett Ladd this time feeding the Canadian two-on-one to give Blaze a 2-3 lead going into the intermission.
With Declan Ryan replacing Clemente in between the Storm pipes to start the second, it took just 41 seconds for the Brit to be beaten. Ben Lake again scoring to make it 2-4, his second of the night and fifth in two games.
Next came a quick-fire double from the home side, Gerard Hanson and Nate Fleming registering just seconds apart for 4-4.
British forward Ciaran Long then gave Manchester the lead for the first time before Blaze tied it up again. Captain Jordan Pietrus beating the second period buzzer after a big Ladd shot rebounded off Ryan.
Coventry were ahead again early in the final stanza, Ryan Dingle scoring on the powerplay for 5-6 before Storm's Matt Bissonnette at the back-door, also with the man advantage made it 6-6.
With 12 minutes to go, Blaze Man of the Match Dingle again registered for 6-7, putting home another rebound from a Ladd blast. With Blaze losing Lauwers, Vallerand and later Noble from their bench, the home side took advantage of a 5-on-3 to tie the score yet again. Hammond making it 7-7 with just over five minutes left of regulation time to play.
Into overtime the game went, with the former Clan man Hammond getting the game-winner, beating Preece one-on-one for a final score of 8-7.
Following the on-ice presentations, General Manager of the Storm Neil Russell recieved a well-deserved round of applause from the fans as he departs the club to take up a new position with Manchester City Football Club.
Head Coach Danny Stewart reflected, "It was a crazy game to be a part of. We were relentless tonight in the sense that we kept playing with what we had. By the end of the game we were down 6 regulars so credit the to guys for pushing through. Due to tonight's circumstances these guys require a day off tomorrow, and we will have a better indication as to what we are dealing with after. Nikki and her team will have a busy couple of days."