BLAZE coach Chuck Weber insists his focus remains on the Elite League play-offs after his side’s hopes of reaching the Challenge Cup final came to an end following a 5-3 defeat at Cardiff Devils in the second leg.
Trailing 4-1 from the first tie, Blaze, who were without Steven Goertzen and Justin DaCosta, made the best possible start with Jakub Sindel scoring on the powerplay after just 59 seconds.
But three Devils goals inside 162 seconds from Joey Martin, Chris Culligan and Matt Myers effectively ended any prospect of Blaze overturning the deficit.
Ryan O’Marra and Jereme Tendler tied it up at 3-3 on the night but final-period markers from Martin and Brent Walton ensured a 9-4 aggregate win for Devils, who will now meet Sheffield Steelers in the final at Sheffield Arena on March 8.
“We took too many unnecessary penalties in the first period and too many mistakes led to goals. We have struggled with this team,” said Weber.
“We were down three goals and knew it was not going to be easy but we made a solid start and the early goal got us going but we then had a stream of unnecessary penalties and they capitalised.
“At 3-3 going into the third we had some things on the go but then they took advantage of our mistakes. Some guys played well and some guys did not show up.
“But our focus now is qualifying for the play-offs.”