COVENTRY Blaze head coach Danny Stewart declared he was “happy” with his side’s weekend after winning in Nottingham before falling to defeat in sudden death against Sheffield.
The Blaze were beaten in a sudden death shootout by Sheffield Steelers at the Skydome Arena on Sunday – surrendering a two-goal advantage to eventually lose 3-2.
That came after an impressive 5-2 win in regulation time against Nottingham Panthers the previous day with Luke Ferrara scoring twice.
The results leave Genting Casino Coventry Blaze top of the Elite Ice Hockey League standings – having played more games than any other side in the division.
Blaze coach Stewart was happy with how his side performed over the course of the weekend but rued the effectiveness of his side’s powerplay against the Steelers.
Stewart said: “All in all I’m happy with our performance and the weekend.
“For large parts of the game I liked our play on and off the puck, I think we needed to capitalise on our powerplay.”
David Clements put the Blaze ahead with a powerful slapshot on 17mins 13secs only for Sheffield to tie the game up through Daine Todd on 55mins 22secs from a powerplay.
The game remained scoreless during overtime as goalkeeper’s CJ Motte and Rok Stojanovic each faced in excess of 30 shots.
Evan Bloodoff and Matt Thompson put the Blaze two-nil up in the shootout only for Sheffield to come back and win 3-2 thanks to more heroics from Stojanovic.
Stewart added: “We had several chances in the second period and a five-on-three, with a 1-0 lead you need to capitalise and create that spread.”
However, Coventry were able to find success at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Saturday.
The Blaze fell behind to Mathieu Tousignant’s opener on 10mins 31secs and rode their luck before drawing level through Ferrara’s first strike on 17mins 52secs.
Clements then saw his cross-ice pass diverted into his own net by Panthers player Mark Matheson at 22mins 04secs before Nottingham drew level thanks to Tousignant’s second on 24mins 10secs.
And after Janne Laakkonen made the most of Panthers keeper Kevin Carr’s spillage at 28mins 33secs – the Blaze never looked back.
Two scores in less than a minute put the game to bed as Bloodoff’s effort on 40mins 30secs and Ferrara’s second goal at 41mins 10secs – both from powerplays – secured the points.
Stewart said: “I think we took advantage of our opportunities, we put our bodies on the line and that’s what you need to do on the road.”
Coventry return to action at 6pm on Sunday, October 17 when they host Belfast Giants at the Skydome Arena.