18th Sep, 2018

Injury-hit Blaze hope to have at least one man return for start of hectic Christmas schedule

ICE HOCKEY: DANNY Stewart revealed he’s hoping to have ‘one or two’ men back on the ice this weekend after an ‘exhausted’ Blaze battled to a four-point-weekend.

Stewart’s men defeated Braehead Clan 4-3 before making the long trip to Edinburgh to beat the Capitals 4-2.

Despite missing three of their top six skaters, Blaze lifted themselves to ninth in the league – now level on points with eighth placed Milton Keynes.

Injuries to Brett Robinson, Ryan Dingle and Gustav Ahnelov restricted Blaze’s play on ice, but the coach is hopeful at least one of his men will be back in time for the start of a busy Christmas schedule.

He said: “To have two centre men missing, a physical character and a puck-moving defenceman was tough.

“We’re not built to face that situation night in night out.

“Hopefully we’ll get one or two back next weekend.

“Danick (Paquette) will also return on Sunday from his suspension.”

Stewart also admitted he’s still searching for some fresh legs to add to his roster.

But he was quick to say the transfer market is ‘dry’ and added other teams are eyeing the same prospects as himself.

He said: “We are searching. I’m not sure if we’re a club that can bring guys in for a week and then ship them off, it’s expensive.

“Next week we’ll learn more.”

The timely four-point weekend happened days before Blaze’s restless Christmas schedule gets underway, which includes seven games in 16 days.

Blaze face a trip to Milton Keynes this Saturday before facing off to Manchester Storm at the Skydome Arena on Sunday 5.15pm.

Milton Keynes are again the opposition on Saturday, December 23, at home before a Boxing Day and 27th double header against Cardiff Devils follows.

Games against Nottingham Panthers on the 30th and 1st conclude the busy schedule.

Stewart said: “Five-on-five we’ve outplayed teams on a consistent basis.

“But we’ve struggled with our special teams and being clinical in front of goal.

“Tonight (Saturday) we did a great job against Braehead. I’m delighted for the guys.”

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