GUTSY Coventry Blaze finally ended their Belfast Giants hoodoo on Sunday by beating the reigning Elite Ice Hockey League champions 6-3 at the Skydome Arena.
Victory was the perfect response from Danny Stewart’s side, following a disappointing 4-1 reverse on Saturday away to Sheffield Steelers, leaving the Blaze head coach speaking in grand terms about the performance.
“It was a gutsy win in a back and forth game,” he said.
“I thought our physicality was better than it has been all year, especially against Belfast as I felt they outmuscled us a couple of weeks back, so there were a lot of positives tonight.”
The result ended a barren run of 13 games without success against the Giants, although that streak looked set to continue when Patryk Wronka fired the visitors in front on 8.38 with a strike that beat Jamie Phillips at the near post.
Charles Corcoran (25.18) hauled Coventry level from Johnny Curran’s assist, though Bobby Farnham (31.21) restored Belfast’s lead mid-way through the second period.
Coventry had Corcoran and a lucky bounce to thank for the second equaliser seconds later on 31.44, with luck seemingly on the hosts’ side as former Blaze forward Ben Lake was denied on a penalty shot.
David Broll (33.46) fired home between the pipes to give Blaze the lead for the first time during a powerplay, proving the final score of the second period.
The Giants were not prepared to let go of the game that easily though, and brought the scores to 3-3 as a result of Matt Pelech’s goal at 40.53.
Three unanswered goals followed for Coventry to win the game, first from Evan Bloodoff at 47.23 during a powerplay, before Matt Pohlkamp and Broll at 55.12 and 57.33 respectively closed off the win.
Finishing was not quite so present from the Blaze at the Sheffield Arena the previous night, however, with only Luke Ferrara (42.02) able to celebrate scoring a Coventry goal, following two early strikes from the Steelers’ Marco Vallerand (1.46) and Robert Dowd (4.50).
The hosts responded positively to the deficit being halved and found the net twice more, through Marek Trocinsky on 44.28 and Tanner Eberle at 50.50.
Coventry are up to fourth after the weekend’s results, a position they hope to strengthen at Dundee Stars on Saturday (7pm) and against the Steelers on Sunday (5.30pm).