29th Jun, 2022

Dundee close Blaze gap to just two points as race for final playoff spot takes another twist

PLAYOFF rivals Dundee Stars bridged the gap between themselves and Coventry Blaze to just two points after Danny Stewart’s men suffered two weekend losses.

Blaze conceded five unanswered goals on Saturday night at the Skydome before eventually responding with three goals of their own, but by then their efforts proved too little too late as Cardiff wrapped up the two points when scoring an empty-net goal shortly before the final buzzer.

Stewart’s side suffered from a similar fate on Sunday night as Braehead Clan registered four goals to end another miserable weekend for the Skydome outfit.

Their latest loss means the end of season playoff battle between themselves, Dundee Stars and Edinburgh Capitals has heated up – with all three sides separated by just six points, with Dundee and Edinburgh both having games in hand.

Gleason Fournier opened Cardiff’s account after just five minutes on Saturday night before Layne Ulmer doubled the Devils’ lead shortly before the end of the opening period.

Player/coach Andrew Lord made it three for the Devils with 23 seconds remaining in the second period – Joey Haddad and Sean Bentivoglio then added goals four and five in the opening two minutes of the third period.

Home fans had something to cheers about when Barry Almeida scored one of the goals of the season – firstly skating through every Cardiff defenceman in his way before roofing a shot over Tom Murdy’s left shoulder.

Brett Robinson and Matt Marquardt brought the Blaze to within two goals of the visitors, though an empty net effort from Joey Martin sealed Cardiff’s win.

Braehead netminder Gary Russell then stopped 41 of Blaze’s 43 shots to earn the Glasgow outfit a win over Blaze on Sunday night.

Braehead took the lead through Matt Haywood after 13 minutes, though Coventry equalised as Shawn Boutin scored on the powerplay at 18.26.

Matt Beca made it 2-1 to the Clan at 38.37 – and Craig Peacock then made it 3-1 at 45.27.

Star forward TJ Syner brought the Blaze to within a goal seconds later as Coventry immediately responded, but once again it proved too little too late – as Blaze suffered their fourth defeat in five games.

Head Coach Danny Stewart said: “The boys played much better tonight (Sunday).

“We executed very well and I thought it was a game that could have gone either way.

“Unfortunately, they were just a bit more clinical than us and found a way to win the game.

“I thought Brian Stewart had one of his better games in a while and he was unlucky tonight.”

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