24th Oct, 2021

Gritty Blaze delight Stewart

Ben Tyler 22nd Jan, 2020

BLAZE head coach Danny Stewart commended the mental resilience of his Coventry side en route to a 3-2 overtime win away to Guildford Flames on Sunday.

The victory at the Guildford Spectrum put the gloss on a four-point weekend after Saturday’s 6-4 win over Dundee Stars at the Skydome Arena – results which sent the Blaze up to fifth in the Elite League.

Stewart was fully aware of the impressive nature of the win, one which put to bed an eight-game run in which Coventry failed to come out on top in the additional period.

“There were a lot of twists and turns tonight,” he said.

“It was a good-paced game, I think both teams did quite a good job of defending in terms of ‘grade A’ situations.

“When they were needed both goalies played really well, we always find it tough in this rink, they always play at such a good pace, but I think we match up well.

“The disallowed goal easily could have shook us, it looked a good goal from our point of view. Then they go and get that second one, but I don’t think it even fazed us.

“I thought in the third period we played by far our best and then we carried that over into overtime.”

Evan Bloodoff skidded a low shot across the ice and through the legs of Guildford netminder Wouter Peeters at 14.10 to open the scoring, before Blaze’s bogeyman Calle Ackered levelled at 22.35.

After a goalless middle period, Coventry believed they had re-taken the lead, only for the strike to be disallowed prior to a second of the night for the Flames.

T.J Foster (51.06) provided it, beating Blaze goalkeeper C.J Motte and leaving the visitors suddenly staring down the barrel with less than ten minutes remaining.

Mental fortitude came to the fore as Blaze hauled themselves level through Andrew Johnston (56.29) to force overtime.

The late leveller gave the away side the upper hand, so it was little surprise when the well-placed Justin Hache struck a back-handed effort into the net to win the game two minutes and 43 seconds into the additional period.

Braces from Ross Venus and Dillon Lawrence were the highlight for Blaze in a rollercoaster tie with visitors Dundee Stars the previous night.

The hosts were on the back foot less than 30 seconds after the first buzzer when the returning David Broll was dismissed for shoving Reilly O’Connor into the boards.

Nevertheless, Blaze soldiered on and went two goals up through Venus (1.20) and Matt Pohlkamp (5.08), adding a third before the end of the first period through Lawrence (17.12).

Kevin Dufour (17.29) reduced the deficit with the final goal of the opening 20, though the one-way traffic continued as Venus (27.55) tapped in number four midway through the second period.

What followed were moments of madness from a Coventry point of view, as penalties were handed out to Charlie Corcoran, Hache and Bloodoff following Anthony Beauregard’s goal for the Flames on 29.38.

Brett Stovin (34.18) and Dryden Dow (37.09) then hauled their side level during the extensive powerplay period, setting up for an open final period.

Lawrence popped up with the eventual winner at 42.05 from Venus’ lay-off, followed by John Curran’s 47.08 strike to cap off victory.

A home game against Sheffield Steelers is next up for Stewart’s side on Sunday (5.30pm).

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