ANY HOPES of Blaze securing a first four-point weekend in the Elite League since the beginning of September were ended after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Nottingham Panthers.
Blaze travelled to the National Ice Centre on Sunday brimming with confidence after defeating Sheffield Steelers 6-2 at the Skydome on Saturday.
Robert Dowd fired Steelers ahead but Blaze levelled through Jereme Tendler, his third goal in four games, before Cale Tanaka nudged them in front.
Kyle Bochek, Russell Cowley and Tendler again added further markers as Blaze took control of the game and player-coach Steven Goertzen scored against his former club to make it 6-1 before Mike Forney pulled a goal back for Steelers.
Blaze were hoping to make it back-to-back wins the following evening when they faced Nottingham Panthers but a 3-1 defeat saw Blaze fall to third defeat in four meetings with the Panthers this season.
The visitors found themselves 1-0 down after 42 seconds when Brandon Benedict scored the opener and Chris Higgins doubled Panthers’ advantage 77 seconds into the second period.
A second goal of the weekend for Cowley pulled Blaze back into the match but Bruce Graham’s powerplay marker 24 seconds later restored Panthers’ two-goal cushion.
Player-coach Goertzen said: “Once again the effort was there, we just had a lapse in concentration at the start of the first and second period.
“Being 1-0 down on the road going into the second period is not a bad position but 2-0 you are really climbing. It is hard to come back, especially against a good team like Nottingham in a hard rink.
“But we did everything we could to get back into the game. In the last 15 minutes we created a tonne of chances and hit about four posts – the puck just did not go in for us.
“The game was there for the taking and we gave ourselves a chance. There was definitely a lot of positives.
“We wanted a win this weekend first of all as I knew it would do a lot for our confidence. The work ethic has been there for the last four games and we need that to continue.”
Cale Tanaka’s snipe stunned the large Steelers crowd. (s) Photo by Scott Wiggins.