28th Jun, 2022

Late Almeida goal provides little consolation as Blaze defeated by Steelers

Shaun Reynolds 22nd Dec, 2016 Updated: 23rd Dec, 2016

A LATE goal courtesy of Barry Almeida provided Coventry Blaze fans little consolation as Sheffield Steelers defeated Danny Stewart’s men for the second time in as many nights.

Following a crushing 6-1 victory at the Sheffield Arena on Wednesday night, the Blaze started with clear intent in front of another strong Skydome crowd

However Blaze’s early presence soon wore out as Sheffield controlled the game with some clever puck movement – making full use of the ice available.

Though Danny Stewart’s side still had a handful of shots saved or blocked, the Steelers broke well and were unlucky not to open their account earlier than they did as Mattieu Roy went close.

The visitor’s patience soon paid off as an initial save from Brian Stewart was pounced upon by Fretter, who scored with the net gaping in front of him as a helpless Stewart scrambled to try and get back in position.

Steelers lead was doubled seconds before the end of the first period as netminder Stewart was once again tempted out of his net – Roy took full advantage and hit home a close range shot to make it 0-2.

A scrappy second period saw the game heat up as Levi Nelson caused a stir – though his skating proved exemplary as he nearly single-handedly added Steelers’ third.

Kevin Noble was taken to the locker room three minutes prior to the end of the second period following a collision in centre-ice with Roy – leaving Blaze short on the bench.

Jon Armstrong missed a golden opportunity to add a third for Sheffield when missing an open net from the back door as both teams remained separated by two goals after the second period.

Several Sheffield penalties couldn’t be converted by the Blaze powerplay unit, and Coventry’s fate was eventually confirmed when Nelson scored an empty net goal which came off Liam Stewart at 58.05.

Barry Almeida’s late goal provided Blaze fans little consolation as Stewart’s side suffered their third successive defeat.

Post-game, Danny Stewart said: “We performed well enough to get a result but we didn’t execute on our powerplay opportunities.

“It’s disappointing as I thought we performed well in the first period.

“We had more looks than Sheffield but just couldn’t find a way through, sometimes we were a bit stationary on the powerplay and Sheffield did a good job.

“I can take positives as we creating plenty of chances, but in games like that when you get opportunities you can’t let them go to waste.”

It doesn’t get easier for the Blaze as they next face table topping Cardiff at home on Boxing Day (6pm) before the return fixture a day later in the Welsh capital.

Danny Stewart’s side then a double header against Nottingham before the New Year with ties against Belfast and Sheffield to follow.

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