COVENTRY Blaze will aim to prevent a fourth loss to Elite Series leaders Sheffield Steelers in a month tomorrow night, following Tuesday night’s 5-3 humbling at the hands of the Yorkshire side.
Danny Stewart’s charges have so far tasted defeat in all three encounters with the Steelers, but will hope to instigate an upturn in fortunes on Thursday as the group stage of the Series winds down towards its conclusion this weekend.
In the most recent outing, Blaze made one change to their starting line-up with Shane Owen returning between the pipes, a man who was beaten midway through the period when Brendan Connolly took advantage of Coventry’s outnumbered defence to thrash home a 9.50 equaliser – following Tristan Keck’s opener at 2.12.
The second period proved a crucial one in deciding the final outcome, as the Steelers struck twice in quick succession to put themselves firmly in the ascendancy.
Matthew Myers turned home Kevin Schulze’s initial effort on 32.18, followed by Connolly’s second of the night at 33.49 after pinching possession from Nicolai Bryhnisveen.
With Coventry left with it all to do, in the final period, there was a glimmer of hope for Stewart and Co. when Janne Laakkonen netted 23 seconds after the restart.
Blaze were unable to capitalise on a couple of Steelers players being removed from the ice however, and instead fell further behind when Liam Kirk and Robert Dowd fired home at 47.24 and 51.49 respectively.
Keck snuck home Coventry’s third goal of the night in the dying embers at 58.16, but there was no way back despite netminder Owen being replaced by another outfield player.