FOLLOWING their exit from the Challenge Cup on Saturday, Coventry Blaze were dealt another blow on Sunday when losing 3-2 to Nottingham Panthers.
Despite several powerplay periods and as many clear cut chances on goal, Danny Stewart’s men could only convert twice as the Panthers left Coventry with the points.
In front of a large Skydome crowd, Panthers were granted an early life when Adam Courchaine missed a near open goal on the powerplay.
Danny Stewart’s men were made to pay minutes later when Jan Sauve scored Nottingham’s first goal of the night at 3.34.
Blaze had their fair share of chances to equalise in the middle part of the opening period – namely when an unmarked Brett Robinson outside Galbraith’s crease couldn’t quite get a stick on the end of a cross from the left.
A diving poke check from Nottingham netminder Galbraith denied Luke Ferrara a late opening period equaliser for Blaze as Panthers ended the opening 20 minutes a goal ahead.
The visitors thought they’d doubled their lead within a minutes of the second period starting, only for the goal to be washed off after Kevin Nastiuk unintentionally dislodged the goal from its moorings.
But Blaze had little to appeal in the next shift when Brett Perlini scored at 20.46 to put Panthers two goals up.
British skater David Clements played a big part in halving Panthers’ lead on 25 minutes when skating into free space in the neutral zone before finding an unmarked Brett Robinson at the back post, who converted the simplest of tap ins.
Perlini doubled his tally when Panthers bagged their third goal of the night from close range.
Failing to give in though, Blaze’s Ryan Dingle converted Garrett Ladd’s cross-ice pass to bring the Blaze within a goal for the second time.
Ross Venus could count himself unlucky not to bring the Blaze level when his shot from the hashmarks struck the crossbar at the start of the third period.
Further chances presented themselves to Blaze, but Panthers – who saw out six-man Blaze in the closing minute when Kevin Nastiuk was pulled – held on to earn a fine margin win.