ICE HOCKEY - Narrow defeats leave Coventry Blaze just inside play-off places - The Coventry Observer

ICE HOCKEY - Narrow defeats leave Coventry Blaze just inside play-off places

Coventry Editorial 25th Mar, 2024 Updated: 27th Mar, 2024   0

COVENTRY Blaze suffered back-to-back 2-1 defeats against Manchester Storm to drop to eighth in the Elite League table.

Blaze lost in a shootout at Planet Ice Altrincham before suffering defeat by the same scoreline the following night at the Skydome Arena.

Coventry sit eighth in the Elite League table, two points clear of Dundee Stars who are just outside of the play-off places.

In Manchester, Storm took the lead after just 26 seconds when former NHL player Joe McMorrow shot past Taran Kozun to put the home side ahead.

Storm dominated the first period only for Blaze to draw level in the second period at 23.56 as Danny Kristo took advantage of a home turnover to beat Evan Weninger in-close.

Weninger denied Blaze’s Mitch Cook when one-on-one later in the second period before both teams spurned chances on the powerplay in the final period.

Coventry took a man advantage into overtime but were unable to make it count with the game decided by a shootout.

Storm took the lead when Tyler Hinam’s effort found the net despite the best efforts of Kozun before Johnny Curran levelled with Blaze’s final shot.

However, Zack Phillips won the game for Storm with the first attempt in sudden death overtime.

In the return fixture on home ice, Blaze found Storm netminder Weninger in inspired form as he kept out Aidan Spellacy’s early effort.

Storm’s Hinam then hit the crossbar while shorthanded before Phillips opened the scoring at 12.13, converting from the slot from Dallas Ehrhardt’s pass.

Coventry’s Alessio Luciani hit the bar early in the second period before Weninger made a big save to deny Spellacy on a shorthanded opportunity.

Weninger then produced a stunning save to keep out James Shearer’s shot before Storm doubled their lead at 32.29 when Michael Korol’s effort just crossed the line despite Kozun’s best efforts.

Blaze halved the deficit at 55.36 as Kobe Roth made the most of a five-on-three opportunity and hit the bar soon after with the home side unable to find a leveller despite pulling Kozun for the extra skater.

Coventry are next in action away at Nottingham Panthers on Saturday, March 30 with the face-off 7pm at Motorpoint Arena.

Blaze then travel to Guildford Flames on Sunday, March 31 with the face-off at 6pm at Guildford Spectrum.

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