RUSSELL Cowley scored a dramatic winner with just three seconds remaining to ensure Blaze beat Belfast Giants 3-2 to record a four-point weekend in the Elite League.
Cale Tanaka scored the game-winning goal as Blaze beat Belfast 3-2 at the Skydome on Saturday.
It was the Canadian forward’s third successive game-winning goal and Blaze’s fifth in their last six games which moved them back up to eighth place.
And the following evening Cowley produced the goods as Blaze dug deep to win by the same scoreline.
Jakub Sindel got the go-ahead goal for Blaze after just 101 seconds only for Colin Shields to level.
Robby Sandrock then gave Giants the lead Derek before Lee marked his return with a goal to tie it up at 2-2.
Nathan Robinson missed a penalty chance to put Giants back in front and with the game heading for overtime Cowley struck his seventh goal of the season right at the death.
“It was a dramatic win,” said Blaze coach Chuck Weber. “We saw them score in the last few seconds in their building and Sheffield scored against us with three seconds to go so I could not be happier.
“We are getting comfortable now with these close games, we are doing things right, we are sticking to it and we are getting rewarded.
“We all thought it was going to overtime and I don’t think there was anyone without a smile at the end.
“With O’Marra and Nikiforov out, it allowed us to use different guys in the line-up and I have to thank Andy (Buxton), Mike (Cowley) and James (Pease) for allowing us to carry the extra imports and to use them when we are battling injuries and sickness.
“We have dug ourselves a hole but we have put a good run together and it is a big four-point weekend. Our practices are not fun, we work them hard and they are starting to reap some benefit.”
The two wins push Blaze three points away from ninth-placed Edinburgh ahead of another double header this weekend which begins with a trip to Sheffield Steelers on Saturday before hosting Nottingham Panthers the following evening.
Man-of-the-match Jim Jorgensen scored in the 3-2 win over Belfast Giants at the Skydome on Friday evening. (s) Photo by Scott Wiggins