COVENTRY Blaze were beaten 2-0 and 2-1 by Guildford Flames in the Challenge Cup last weekend to leave them rooted to the bottom of Group B after six matches.
Goals from Jordan Cownie and Robert Lachowicz condemned Coventry to defeat on Saturday before Levi Cable and Ian Watters struck for Guildford on Sunday after David Broll had equalised for the Blaze.
The second match between the two teams ended in bad blood – after both sides had a player thrown out the previous night in an ill-tempered affair.
Following a delayed start to Sunday’s clash due to a mechanical fault with the Skydome zamboni (ice resurfacer machine) Guildford took the lead at 3.46 through Levi Cable on the powerplay.
The Blaze were frustrated throughout by Flames netminder Kevin Lindskoug who made several stunning saves to deny Finnish forward Janne Kivilahti a goal on his home debut.
Broll eventually found an equaliser when he re-directed Nate Halbert’s shot into the net to bring the game level.
And after Coventry withstood three powerplay opportunities in the middle period – Blaze netminder CJ Motte was finally beaten on 49 minutes when Ian Watters rounded the net before scoring.
The Blaze were denied an equaliser at the death when the superb Lindskoug kept out Luke Ferrara from a six-on-three opportunity.
However, the Guildford keeper’s wild celebrations led to ugly scenes after the final whistle with both Broll and David Clements involved in altercations.
The Premier Sports Elite League Department of Player Safety (DOPS) have ruled that Broll will be fined and suspended for four games in total after incurring a series of punishments for his part in the brawl following Lindskoug’s celebrations.
In addition, Clements will serve a two-game suspension and pay a fine for his part in the scuffle whilst head coach Danny Stewart has been fined and warned about the future conduct of his players – specifically regarding controlling the bench.
Lindskoug has since been fined for incitement with Flames player Jake Bolton fined and suspended for two matches – more details regarding the DOPS verdict can be found here.
The brawl stemmed from another fiery encounter on Saturday night at the Spectrum in which Kivilahti made his Blaze debut only to find Lindskoug in inspired form.
Cownie scored the go ahead goal for the Flames from the powerplay at 22.13 and despite a five-minute powerplay of their own late in the game – the Blaze couldn’t find the equaliser.
The game penalty went to the Flames’ Kyle Locke for checking to the head before the Blaze’s Broll was later also thrown from the game for abuse of the official.
Coventry pulled netminder Motte in their quest for the elusive goal before Lachowicz wrapped up the points for the home side when he scored into an empty net with ten seconds remaining.
The Blaze return to Elite League action against Sheffield Steelers tonight with the face-off at 7:30pm at Sheffield Arena.