COVENTRY Blaze produced a stunning comeback by scoring two late goals to grab a point in their Elite League opener against the Nottingham Panthers at the Skydome Arena.
The away side, in front of a healthy following opened the scoring early (1.31) through Mark Hurtubise, the former Edinburgh Capital stand-out’s first of two on the night.
Making his home debut, Blaze man-of-the-match Tim Crowder levelled the scoring at 15.50, later registering again to begin the late come-back.
With no goals in the second period, the incident of note came on 12.35 when the British pair of David Clements (Blaze) and Robert Farmer (Panthers) came to blows.
A second fight followed in the third period with Panthers’ Jacob Doty picking up the instigator penalty following a hit by Blaze captain Kevin Morris (53.52).
Tim Billingsley hit the first of six third period goals to give the visitors a 2-1 lead (44.29).
Luke Ferrara tied the game at two (47.27) before Hurtubise bagged his second to put Nottingham 3-2 up (50.39).
On 56.48 it looked the game was over as Alex Guptill make it 4-2 to the Panthers.
A dogged Blaze team had different ideas, though, with Crowder (57.45) scoring his second before Kelin Ainsworth sent the Skydome Arena into raptures by tying the game 4-4 on 58.09.
A free-flowing overtime period saw no scoring, sending the game to a penalty shoot-out.
Despite Blaze taking an early advantage, it was the Panthers who skated out successfully, out-scoring Coventry 3-2 over the five shots.