17th Jan, 2022

INTERVIEW: 'We must stay out of the penalty box' says Stewart following disappointing loss to Manchester

ICE HOCKEY: BLAZE boss Danny Stewart admits his side must find a way of staying out of the penalty box following two opening league defeats against Nottingham and Manchester.

The former skater revealed his side will use the whole week to work on their discipline following his side’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester at the Skydome Arena on Sunday.

Despite the loss, the 38-year-old – who joined Blaze in April last year following the departure of Chuck Weber – said this weekend is not one to forget, and his side must learn from some ‘unnecessary’ mistakes.

“At the moment we’re giving away too many penalties,” said Stewart.

“We’re putting ourselves under fire.

“We took penalties at crucial times against Manchester, some of which were unnecessary.

“There’s always a lot of things to clear up at this time of year but we have to find a way of staying out of the box.

“We’ve got a full week to work on this.”

Blaze will have to rediscover their A-game this weekend when they travel to Manchester on Saturday before facing Scottish giants Braehead Clan at the Skydome on Sunday.

And Stewart said he won’t allow his side to forget this weekend’s performances.

He said: “It’s not a weekend to forget.

“You have to learn from these early games so we won’t be forgetting it.

“We came into Sunday’s game off the back of a good performance against Nottingham but Manchester played a good road game, and we made a few mistakes.”

Several clear cut chances presented themselves to Blaze during Sunday’s game, but only Marco Vallerand could light Manchester’s lamp after 45 minutes of play.

Skipper Jordan Pietrus was frustrated to be denied a goal when Mike Hicks waved off his marker mid-way through the second period.

But coach Stewart said his side lost to the better team.

He added: “We had good chances. We just weren’t clinical.

“The better team won on Sunday, and it’s disappointing to admit that.

“There’s a lot of hockey left this season so there’s no concerns yet.

“We made an adjustment to our powerplay mid-game against Manchester and we looked better.”

Picture: Scott Wiggins. 

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