JUSTIN Hache’s overtime goal helped Coventry Blaze to a 5-4 comeback victory over the Dundee Stars on Sunday evening.
The goal 28 seconds into the extra period gifted Blaze the win at the Skydome Arena, in a dramatic finale that saw Tim Crowder tie the scores with just 35 seconds of regulation time remaining.
Coventry were without long-term absentee Jake Hansen to injury, but they were at full strength as they looked to overturn the previous nights defeat away to Guildford Flames.
Nevertheless, the Stars took a 6.47 lead through Charles Corcoran before Ben Lake’s 15.44 powerplay leveller – his 24th league goal for the season.
Matt Marquardt swept home (18.19) for a lead at the end of the first period following a late hit penalty conceded by David Clements.
A busy second period saw the Blaze go in front, when leveling through Ben Lake (34.07) – who managed to get the slightest touch on Chris Joyaux’s shot, before Lake turned provider to tee up Shawn Pauly’s 11th goal of the campaign (37.00).
The lead would be short-lived, as the visitors levelled things up through Lukas Lundvald (38.28) who put away a rebound to end the period at 3-3.
Blaze opened the third period on the powerplay but went behind 14 seconds in, as Corcoran netted his second (40.14) after Coventry conceded possession.
Coventry were reaching desperation point, throwing netminder Matt Hackett forward as an extra attacker – paying dividends as the increased pressure led to Crowder’s leveller on 59.25.
Hache put away the quickfire winner in overtime to keep Blaze alive in the playoff race thanks to the 5-4 victory.
Blaze head coach Danny Stewart was cautious about his side’s performance, but relieved nevertheless to come away with a win.
“We weren’t great tonight but again we found a way,” he said.
“We’ve certainly got to be a lot better for 60 minutes. We definitely showed some resiliency at the end and some character and we found a way.”
The previous night had not gone so well in a 4-3 defeat to Guildford Flames at the Spectrum.
Blaze lined up the same as in their narrow win over Manchester Storm the previous weekend, and went ahead on 10.26 through player/assistant coach Kevin Noble, before former Coventry forward Ben Davies levelled (14.27).
Hackett was beaten with just four seconds remaining of the opening period, Kruise Reddick finding the net to prove just why he stands as the top point-scorer in the Elite League.
Lake brought Coventry restored parity (25.39) from Crowder’s second assist of the game, before Davies netted a second time (38.20) against his old side to make it 3-2 at the end of the period.
It was 4-2 when TJ Foster pulled Flames further away on 52.40, but Hache pulled one back to give some hope in the dying moments (56.24).