COVENTRY BLAZE suffered heartache at the Motorpoint Arena on Sunday night as they failed to defend their playoff championship, losing 2-0 to Nottingham Panthers.
After defeating Cardiff 6-2 on Saturday, Nottingham proved a step too far for the Blaze as a goal towards the end of the first period and at the start of the third period was enough to confirm victory for the Panthers.
Coventry struggled to make an impression on the Panthers net in the opening period as hosts Nottingham worked the puck into the Blaze defensive zone on multiple occasions.
Despite several key saves, Stephen Schultz’s shot four minutes from the end of the first period proved too good as the Panthers took a one goal lead.
Blaze failed to take full advantage of two powerplays in the second period as they showed signs of promise on a regular basis.
A remarkable two on one glove save from Brian Stewart mid-way through the final period was followed up by a second Panthers goal as Kevin Quick shot a puck through the pads of Stewart.
After the game, Chuck Weber told The Observer that he was proud to be a part of the Coventry Blaze team and gave credit to the Nottingham Panthers.
“It’s been a season of two halves and the boys gave everything tonight, there was a lot of sacrifice,” said Weber.
“We had little puck luck and both goals were slightly unlucky for us but saying that the goals were executed well and Nottingham took their chances.
“I tip my hat to the Panthers, they played well and proved to be a hard match-up.
“Stewart made a bunch of saves tonight and our defencemen were pulling pucks off the line.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys, everything they’ve done has been great and there’s a reason we played so well at the Skydome this season – our fans.”
Picture credit: Scott Wiggins