THREE third-period goals helped the Guildford Flames to a 5-3 victory over the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze in the final game of the Elite League regular season.
With qualification for the PredictorBet play-offs secure for both teams, the result meant little except helping to confirm the Flames’ quarter-final opponent will be the Sheffield Steelers.
Nevertheless, Danny Stewart’s Blaze side were keen to continue their hot form in front of a large Skydome crowd as they prepare to meet the Elite League champions Cardiff Devils in the play-off quarter-finals.
Wearing special jerseys to celebrate match sponsor’s Coventry University Business School’s 50-year anniversary, Blaze began the game with student Kevin Nastiuk between the pipes.
Gaelan Patterson, the defenceman turned forward in recent weeks to cover for the absence of Marco Vallerand and Dorian Peca, continued his fine scoring form, grabbing his 12th goal of the Elite League season for 1-0 (9.56).
Just seconds later, British forward Ross Venus was unfortunate to lose an edge, falling and being dispossessed of the puck which lead to a John Dunbar equaliser (10.18).
To start the second period, with participation in the play-offs confirmed, young British understudy Brython Preece replaced Nastiuk in the Coventry goal.
With a 6ft 5ins presence in each net, despite multiple powerplay opportunities for Blaze, it took until there were just 32 seconds left in the middle period for a goal to be found.
It came from Brett Robinson, beating his former teammate Stewart for 2-1 (39.26).
In contrast to the previous two, the third period became a wide open affair with the Flames enjoying the far better of it.
Brett Ferguson tied the game at 2-2 whilst the Flames were short-handed (53.08), Ryan Dingle then with a deflected effort giving Coventry the advantage again on the powerplay (54.45).
It was 3-3 at 56.33 through Kruise Reddick and the Flames then took over the game. Geoff Walker, a former play-off winner with Sheffield, struck again seconds later (56.51) and the outstanding Calle Ackered wrapping up the scoring (57.13).
The Blaze now prepare for face the Devils on Friday (7.30) at the Skydome.