20th Oct, 2017

Coventry Blaze fightback to progress in Challenge Cup

Coventry Editorial 22nd Jan, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

BLAZE produced a phenomenal fightback to beat Braehead Clan 5-4 on aggregate after penalty shots and reach the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

American defenceman Jim Jorgensen made a winning start on his debut despite Blaze being without Steven Chalmers, Derek Lee, Ryan O’Marra and Russell Cowley.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Blaze fell further behind at the Skydome but on Wednesday evening but James Griffin, playing as a forward, levelled the score on the night.

After a scoreless second session, two quick-fire goals from skipper Ashley Tait and Ross Venus made it 3-1 to Blaze on the night and 4-4 on aggregate.

Overtime failed to separate the sides and the tie went into a shoot-out where Jereme Tendler and Ben Arnt were successful.

And now Blaze, who have won the competition twice, now face Cardiff Devils in the last four over two legs for a place in the final at Sheffield Arena on March 8.

“I could not be more proud of the effort the boys gave,” said Blaze head coach Chuck Weber.

“We went down 1-0 but stuck to it and we got a huge goal from Griff, who was going as a forward.

“We were short and behind but to get the goal back so quickly changed the dynamic of the game. We created a lot of good opportunities and we believed more and more.

“Griff sacrificed himself for the team to play as a forward and he, Dale White and Ross Venus gave us a lot of valuable minutes and allowed the guys to be a little more fresh at the end.

“The guys battled, they persevered, they blocked shots and then stepped up in the shoot-out and Stewie (goaltender Brian Stewart) was big too. They showed a lot of character.”

Debutant Jorgensen is hoping the stunning comeback cane be the springboard to turning around Blaze’s Elite League fortunes, starting with this weekend’s double header against Sheffield Steelers (Saturday) and Dundee Stars (Sunday).

Jorgensen added: “It was a big win and something to build on.

“We went a goal down early but did not panic and we got one back right away. We were then a little bit more aggressive and it worked out for us.

“It will give us some confidence and hopefully we can push on now. The guys showed they are not going to quit and they will keep battling. There are two trophies still to play for and why can’t it be us?

“We need to go on a winning streak now and we have to start somewhere.”

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