3rd Jul, 2022

Mixed feelings for struggling Coventry Blaze

ICE HOCKEY: ANOTHER busy weekend of Elite League action ended in woe and anger for Danny Stewart after his Blaze side tasted a heavy 8-3 defeat on the road at Nottingham Panthers.

The weekend had started in such positive fashion for Blaze on Saturday after extending their unbeaten home record against Edinburgh Capitals to 17 games.

Taylor MacDougall had given the Capitals a deserved eighth minute lead but the hosts reversed the momentum in the middle period.

They were level in the 33rd minute thanks to a goal by Barry Almeida before captain Jordan Pietrus found the net for the seventh straight game against the Caps.

With the clock ticking down, an outstanding pass from Brett Robinson (his 100th point in all Elite League competitions) was hit home by Liam Stewart for 3-1.

Angered by the third Blaze strike, Edinburgh defenceman Jacob Johnston was given a game misconduct for abuse of official by referee Dean Smith.

Jim Jorgensen, who returned to the line-up following a couple of weeks on the side-lines ended the scoring, by firing from long-range into the empty net.

Head Coach Danny Stewart said: “It was a good win against a good team. It took us a while to get out the gates but credit to them, they stormed us in that first period and forced Stewie (Brian Stewart) to make some good stops.

“I think we were lucky to get out of that period one-nothing if I’m honest. But we steadied the ship and were much better in the second and third. It was a good win.”

Blaze were hoping to use Saturday’s win as a confidence boost heading into Sunday’s trip to Nottingham Panthers, but instead Stewart’s side found themselves on the wrong end of a 8-3 scoreline.

Coventry fell behind early at the Motorpoint Arena with a quick-double strike from Brian McGrattan and Jeff Dimmen and with less than ten minutes gone it was 3-0 with former Blaze forward Robert Farmer getting in on the act.

Following a 30 second time-out the Blaze found their way back into the game on the power-play with T.J Syner registering his 11th of the season, but Nottingham captain Brad Moran added a fourth to send the home side to the dressing room with a convincing 4-1 lead.

With his second of the game, former NHL star Brian McGrattan made it 5-1 before Jeff Brown added a sixth, which signalled the end of the night for Brian Stewart who was replaced by Renny Marr.

In the 38th minute the Panthers were awarded a penalty-shot after a trip by Marr denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity and Dimmen was able to scored his second of the game before Farm bagged his second for 8-1.

Matt Marquardt and Robin Bergman grabbed consolation markers for the Blaze and Stewart was left angered by the performance.

“We sucked,” he said. “We played a good two-and-a-half minutes at the start of the game where we were unlucky not to get a goal. They scored two quick ones on us and we sucked from then on.”

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