ICE HOCKEY: A TRIO of third period goals denied Coventry Blaze points against league leaders Cardiff on Wednesday night at a packed Skydome Arena.
Thousands of festive fans created a carnival atmosphere at the city centre venue, with Coventry falling short of what would’ve been a timely home win.
Blaze surrendered the lead twice as Danick Paquette’s brace was cancelled out by goals from Gleason Fournier and Patrick Asselin.
Devils’ biggest blow came six minutes from time when Andrew Hotham scored from close range.
Earlier in the game, Blaze had the first meaningful chance on net when Ryan Dingle – against the run of play – went one-on-one with Devils’ netminder Ben Bowns. But the British ‘keeper pulled off a good save to his left to keep the game goalless.
Cardiff failed to make the most of the game’s first powerplay after David Clements was assessed a 2+2 penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The visitors were unlucky not to score on 15minutes when Andrew Hotham’s shot from inside the blue line ringed off Kevin Nastiuk’s left post.
A pair of powerplay opportunities were missed by Blaze at the start of the second period.
But the deadlock was eventually broke on 32 minutes when a solo effort from Danick Paquette saw the forward drift into Devils’ zone before unleashing a top corner strike, beating Bowns’ left shoulder for height.
Blaze failed to double their lead during a five-on-three powerplay as Devils restricted the home side to a one-goal lead at the end of the second period.
Blaze’s one-goal wasn’t to last long though as Gleason Fournier scored an unassisted goal at 42.46, beating Kevin Nastiuk for height and speed.
A fortuitous rebound in the Blaze zone saw Danick Paquette score his – and Blaze’s – second at 49.50 to restore the home side’s one goal lead after going opening up a two on one rush with Brett Robinson.
Cardiff levelled for the second time when a cross ice pass found Patrick Asselin at the back door, who scored a tight angled open net tap in at 51.46.
Andrew Hotham but Devils ahead for the first time when a goalmouth scramble ended with the puck in the back of the net, much to the frustration of Blaze netminder Kevin Nastiuk – who protested the net had been dislodged from its moorings before the puck crossed the line.
A penalty against Dax Lauwers did little to help Blaze’s cause as they fell a goal short, the game ending 2-3.