7th Aug, 2020

More injury-time woe for Blaze; Stewart calls for end to Achilles heel

Ben Tyler 26th Feb, 2020

BLAZE head coach Danny Stewart says his Coventry side must address their over-time Achilles heel heading into the final weeks of the regular season.

Sunday’s 4-3 defeat to Cardiff Devils at the Skydome Arena spelled a seventh over-time loss this season for the Blaze, the most in the Elite League this season, on the back of Saturday’s 2-0 win at Glasgow Clan.

There was room for praise from the Coventry chief however, given the nature of his side’s comeback to recover from a 2-0 deficit, stating: “We put the work in and it was unfortunate how it ended.

“I liked our fightback after going down 2-0. The first goal gave us some life and woke us up a little bit, I felt we were the better team after that.

“We let our performance slip a little bit in the over-time period, which has been a weakness in our game this season, and it hurt us again.”

Mike McNamee sent Coventry behind after just a minute and two seconds with a fine solo goal, backing up his early flash of genius with a second after four minutes and 50 seconds.

From that moment on, Coventry eventually began to work their way into the tie, pulling a goal back before the opening period was out through Evan Bloodoff at 15.26.

The Canadian winger was in the right place at the right time to meet the puck and tap in at the far post after a pass from Charles Corcoran.

Coventry continued to step up the pressure and got their reward when Luke Ferrara dragged an unstoppable shot past Cardiff netminder Ben Bowns into the net to level at 34.48.

The comeback was then completed midway through the third period, after Charles Corcoran (49.59) hit an attempt at goal that deceived Bowns and went straight in.

But before the hosts could begin to celebrate a potential victory against the Devils, Cardiff hit back through Gleason Fournier’s 51.57 leveller during a powerplay.

With neither side able to be separated, it was up to a three-versus-three over-time period to try and decide a victor.

And with a winning goal arriving just a minute and 17 seconds into extra-time, Cardiff’s Blair Riley broke Coventry hearts with a deadly finish that left CJ Motte with no chance.

In the previous night’s game, two goals in the opening 17 minutes were enough to earn fifth-placed Coventry a 22nd win this term at Braehead Arena.

Bloodoff put the Glaswegian hosts on the back foot after burying his strike on 14.48, followed by a goal for Ferrara moments later at 16.07 after a well-worked move between Andrew Johnston and Laakkonen.

While the Blaze were short-handed on two occasions in the second period, they were able to keep the Scottish side at bay.

Coventry host Glasgow Clan on Saturday (7pm), before making the trip to the Motorpoint Arena for Sunday’s meeting with Nottingham Panthers (4pm).

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