ICE HOCKEY - Coventry Blaze suffer back-to-back defeats against Storm and Steelers - The Coventry Observer

ICE HOCKEY - Coventry Blaze suffer back-to-back defeats against Storm and Steelers

Coventry Editorial 19th Mar, 2024 Updated: 19th Mar, 2024   0

COVENTRY Blaze suffered back-to-back defeats against Manchester Storm and Sheffield Steelers in a blow to the club’s play-off hopes.

Blaze conceded two late goals in a 3-1 defeat against Storm at Planet Ice Altrincham before losing 7-4 on home ice against league leaders Sheffield at the Skydome Arena.

The result leave Blaze sixth in the Elite League standings, just two points ahead of Dundee Stars in the race for a top-eight finish.

Against Manchester, Storm’s Tyler Hinam broke the deadlock at 21.30 after he redirected Chase Harrison’s shot.

Blaze drew level at 26.19 when Kim Tallberg deflected Alexander Kuquali’s effort from the blue-line into the net.

However, Storm regained the lead at 55.37 as Stephen Johnson finished on the rebound before Hinam scored into an empty net at 58.27 after Blaze pulled netminder Taran Kozun for the extra skater.

Coventry then suffered defeat against runaway leaders Sheffield in an end-to-end contest at the Skydome with six goals scored in a frantic first period.

Steelers’ Daniel Ciampini opened the scoring at 2.27 before Coventry’s Mitch Cook broke on an odd man rush and passed to Alessio Luciani who equalised at 2.42 past Matthew Greenfield.

However, Sheffield reclaimed the lead just 40 seconds later when captain Robert Dowd converted a cross-ice pass from Mitchell Balmas.

And Steelers stretched their lead at 10.40 as Marc-Olivier Vallerand scored on a two-on-one break despite Sheffield having Cole Shudra in the penalty box on a double minor.

Blaze cut the deficit at 15.22 when Johnny Curran beat Greenfield from Aidan Speallacy’s feed only for Scott Allen to restore Sheffield’s two-goal lead at 18.22 from Ciampini’s smart pass.

The home side once again reduced the deficit at 23.28 through Luciani before Vallerand struck for Steelers at 24.35 and Shudra took the game away from Blaze at 27.17 in the second period.

Luciani completed his hat-trick for Blaze at 51.12 only for Ciampini to score his second of the game, again short-handed, with Sheffield now one win away from claiming the Elite League title.

Coventry are next in action away at Manchester on Saturday, March 23 with the face-off at 7pm at Planet Ice Altrincham,

Blaze then host Storm on Sunday, March 24 with the face-off at 5.30pm at the Skydome.

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