THREE goals were enough for Coventry Blaze on Sunday night as Danny Stewart’s men secured victory in their opening Challenge Cup fixture of the season, beating Nottingham 3-1.
Blaze entered their first competitive fixture of the season on the back of two stunning away friendlies in Manchester and Cardiff.
Three late goals from Matt Marquardt, Robin Bergman and Brett Robinson secured a dramatic 7-6 victory in Manchester, before losing 7-6 to Cardiff on Saturday night.
However the Blaze made no such mistake at the Skydome on Sunday night as a trio of goals from Bjorn Bombis, Jim Jorgensen and Josh Godfrey helped put two points on the board.
Skating in front of a vocal home crowd, Blaze made an early breakthrough as popular German skater Bjorn Bombis was superbly picked out by Matt Marquardt after just four minutes.
Jeff Brown’s aim to spur on the Panthers by comprehensively punching Ross Venus to the floor, as both dropped the gloves, didn’t work as Jim Jorgensen batted home a loose puck from close range to double Coventry’s lead four minutes later.
A goalless second period followed, though Josh Godfrey made it three for the Blaze early in the third period as a deflected shot from the blue line beat Panthers netminder Jindrich Pacl.
Brad Moran pulled one back for the Panthers with just over seven minutes remaining.
Despite a late worry for Blaze fans as star goaltender Brian Stewart broke a steel in his skate, back-up netminder Renny Marr stepped in for the concluding three minutes.
Post-game, Coventry Blaze head coach Danny Stewart said: “It was nice to play with a lead for once.
“The team skated well tonight and put the pucks in the right areas – I thought our overall team effort was outstanding and we worked hard for the points tonight.
“Our fore check was another positive and having Bombis score another topped off a great night.
“Stewy (Brian Stewart) was great in front of net, it’s nice to get the first competitive game out of the way – now we can knuckle down and focus on the next challenge.”
Danny Stewart and his Blaze men start their Elite League campaign this Sunday (August 11) at the Skydome as they welcome Belfast for a 5.15pm face-off.
Pics credit: Scott Wiggins.