18th Jan, 2020

Fired-up Blaze good value for four-point weekend - Stewart

Ben Tyler 17th Dec, 2019

BLAZE head coach Danny Stewart saluted his team after they recorded two victories on the spin in the Elite Ice Hockey League last weekend.

Coventry followed up Saturday night’s impressive 4-3 away win at Manchester Storm with a 6-3 victory over Dundee Stars in front of the Skydome Arena faithful on Sunday evening. The Blaze had moved 4-0 ahead before Stars pulled it back to 4-3 and man of the match Ross Venus settled any nerves.

Assessing the weekend, Stewart said: “In Manchester, I felt we played some of our best hockey in terms of our competitiveness and buy-in.

“[In Sunday’s win] I felt we brought it back and had a great first period, and at 4-0, I think we felt the game was dead and buried.

“The Venus goal was huge to get rid of the nerves from our bench as they were coming at 4-3, and credit to Dundee, but we found a way to get it done.”

In-form Luke Ferrara got proceedings underway in Sunday’s game with the opening goal after seven minutes and 50 seconds, prior to Johnny Curran (9.32) and Justin Hache (10.58) increasing the levels of pandemonium in the stands further.

Venus had his first of the night at the start of the second period (22.13), at which point many would have been led to believe that the game as a contest was over.

But back came the Stars, who refused to fall and mounted a comeback through Elgin Pearce’s powerplay strike (28.56), Drydn Dow (40.39) and Kevin Duffour (45.37).

Any nerves that began to creep in with the scoreline reading 4-3 did not fester for long, as Venus struck his second on 46.15 to re-establish a cushion for the hosts.

And with another goal provided by Dillon Lawrence at 51.36, the Blaze were assured of a maximum-points haul going into the final weekend before Christmas.

On Saturday, Blaze earned their seventh victory on the road this season with an emphatic display at Planet Ice Altrincham.

Mathieu Gagnon (8.48) put the visitors on the backfoot early on, with Coventry not mustering a response until midway through the second period, when David Broll tapped into an empty net (31.57) after the puck fortuitously evaded Storm netminder Matt Ginn.

Parity did not remain for long after Adam Hughesman put Manchester back ahead at 33.48, but in equally swift fashion Stewart’s men were level for a second time as Janne Laakkonen fired home superbly at 34.50.

Blaze took the lead for the first time when Charles Corcoran struck during a powerplay (36.37), one which they did not relinquish.

Corcoran found the net for a second time in the final period (49.22) to give Coventry some daylight, rendering a third Storm goal from Cameron Critchlow (59.51) ineffective.

Blaze are up to seventh in the table ahead of a double-header against Guildford Flames this weekend. They head to Surrey on Saturday (6pm) for the away fixture before hosting their fourth-placed opponents at the Skydome on Sunday (5.30pm).

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