COVENTRY Blaze celebrated the raising of their play-off championship banner with an entertaining 4-3 victory over rivals Nottingham Panthers at the Skydome in the Elite League.
Chuck Weber’s side were looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 6-4 defeat at the league’s new boys Manchester Storm and they were backed by a large home support on Sunday eveing.
The hosts made the perfect start when Carl Lauzon opened the scoring in the ninth minute only for the visitors to pull level six minutes later through Stephen Schultz.
But a quickfire start to the second period saw Blaze surge into a three-goal lead with Mike Quesnele making it 2-1 with just 14 seconds gone and Russell Cowley added a third on 24 minutes before Ned Lukacevic notched a fourt three minutes later.
Cam Janssen pulled a goal back for Panthers in the 28th minutes before Blaze had Cale Tanaka ejected for kneeing on the half-hour mark..
Schultz grabbed his second of the night to cut the defecit to just two goals with 25 minutes remaining but Blaze, who were without injured duo Josh Godfrey and Jordan Pietrus, held on for their third league win of the season.
“It was a nice night,” said Weber. “We had the ceremony to honour last year’s team and the staff did a really good job. It was nice to have messages from last year’s team.
“We got a timely powerplay goal in the first, they pulled it back, we gave it a push at the start of the second period and we bent a little but did not break.
“It was nice to see some of the imports who have received a bit of stick get going offensively. We need everyone going – we cannot rely on one player or one line.
“We were two guys down and then we lost Tanaka. It was a character win.”