EARLY powerplay and shorthanded goals guided Blaze to a 5-2 win against Fife Flyers at the Skydome Arena, boosting the club’s playoff credentials.
Tonight’s win gave Danny Stewart’s men a needed lift as they continue to be embroiled in a four-way battle for the final playoff position.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Blaze sat ninth – level on points with eighth placed Braehead and three points clear of Milton Keynes and Dundee.
Blaze opened the scoring when skipper Jordan Pietrus made the most of Ryan Dingle’s cross ice pass from the blue line during the opening powerplay at 6.02.
Pietrus then had to sit for four minutes after a high-sticks incident during a Blaze goalscoring effort.
The man advantage did little to help Flyers’ game though as top scorer Marco Vallerand played Brett Robinson through for a one-man breakaway.
Robinson calmly slotted his effort past Marr to double Blaze’s lead at 9.54 in an otherwise uneventful opening period.
Marco Vallerand nearly made it three for Blaze on 22 minutes when linking up with Pietrus and Robinson. The No.88’s effort was denied by the crossbar though as Flyers’ two-goal deficit remained.
Several key saves from Kevin Nastiuk prevented Flyers from halving their deficit as the game reached 30 minutes.
Flyers soon scored their first marker though as Liam Heelis’ toe-drag gave Nastiuk little idea where the puck was as the visiting side mutely celebrated on 33 minutes.
Blaze ended the second period with a man advantage, that later turned to a two-man advantage when Flyers goalscorer Heelis was boxed.
Adam Courchaine needed no second invitation to score Blaze’s second powerplay goal of the night from close range at 40.59.
It took Flyers six minutes to respond when Russ Moyer scored an open net tap-in following a cross-ice pass by Liam Heelis, who recorded his second point of the night.
Kevin Nastiuk was called upon mid-way through the final period after forward Ross Venus was penalised for tripping.
The shot-stopper made several key saves before Ian Young picked up a hooking penalty to reverse Blaze’s powerplay stance – only for Jordan Pietrus to pick up a slashing penalty 30 seconds into Coventry’s two-minute man advantage.
Though Fife continued to pepper Nastiuk’s net with shots, Ben Lake scored with just over minute remaining to put the result beyond doubt.
Jordan Pietrus rounded off the scoring with an empty net goal.