RYAN Dingle’s overtime penalty shot earned Blaze an opening pre-season win against Manchester Storm.
Blaze, who welcomed multiple new members to their team during the off season, came from two goals down to win the game in a dramatic overtime period.
Blaze made a shaky start when new netminder Kevin Nastiuk was forced into an early double save with both efforts coming from close range.
Pressure told moments later when Storm took the lead through Matt Bissonnette on 3.54 during the visitors opening powerplay of the night.
Further penalties were conceded by Blaze through the first period – and Storm doubled their lead at 7.35 when Mike Hammond converted Matt Stanisz’s pass.
Dax Lauwers was the next to sit for two minutes when he was called for tripping. But Blaze scored a rare shorthanded goal against the run of play through young Brit Ross Venus.
Blaze’s one goal deficit didn’t last long though as Shane Bakker reestablished Storm’s two goal lead 90 seconds from the end of the opening period.
A fired up Blaze reacted to Danny Stewart’s first period interval. Within five minutes of play, Blaze had scored twice – one for Marco Vallerand and another for skipper Jordan Pietrus, which was eventually awarded after deliberation among the referees.
Chances came and went for Blaze in the second part of the middle period.
Ross Venus almost added to his tally after the break when a loose pass at neutral ice sent the young Brit in a one-on-one with Storm netminder Ashley Smith. Smith made a key save though, denying Venus a second goal.
The absence of Renny Marr as backup netminder didn’t appear to phase Blaze boss Danny Stewart as Brython Preece proved more than capable between the pipes, pulling off several good saves.
Pre-season ‘friendly’ didn’t live up to its name in the 55th minute when a goal mouth scramble led to a ten-man brawl in front of net – prominently involving Blaze’s Danick Paquette and Storm’s Linder Springer.
Neither side found a way past towards the end of third period before Dingle’s overtime marker confirmed victory.