23rd Jul, 2019

Challenge Cup qualification hopes 'hanging by a thread' as Blaze lose back-to-back group stage games

ICE HOCKEY: BLAZE’S qualification hopes took a severe dent over the weekend, losing two crucial ties against Milton Keynes and Cardiff.

Blaze were first dealt a 5-1 setback against the Lightning on Saturday, before losing 3-2 at home to Cardiff Devils on Sunday.

Despite outshooting their opponents 46-34 throughout Saturday night, Blaze found themselves behind when Quin Pompi opened the scoring at 5.19.

On a short-handed breakaway Captain Jordan Pietrus earnt a penalty shot on ten minutes, though his effort was stopped by Milton Keynes’ Man of the Match, Miika Wiikman.

Ben Foster doubled the home side’s lead at 17.07 before Blaze’s Danick Paquette and MK’s Matt Nickerson dropped the gloves. Both men received five minutes in the penalty box for fighting.

Paul Phillips extended Lightning’s lead to three goals at 25.31 before Carl Hudson, a previous cup winner with Cardiff Devils, was handed a 2+10 penalty for checking to the head of Coventry’s Marco Vallerand.

Shortly after, control on the ice quickly evaporated as Nickerson picked up a five plus game misconduct penalty for checking from behind on Blaze’s David Clements.

The British defenceman was then handed a five-minute penalty for fighting with Lightning’s Paul Phillips on the same play.

On the resulting five minute powerplay, Blaze found their only goal of the night through Luke Ferrara.

Unlike last week though, Blaze failed to find a way back into the game as Gui Doucet and Denny Kearney added goals four and five for the home side.

 

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