Stewart: Slow start cost us against the Flames - The Coventry Observer

12th Aug, 2022

Stewart: Slow start cost us against the Flames

Ben Tyler 16th Sep, 2019

BLAZE head coach Danny Stewart says his side were undone by poor play in the first two periods away to Guildford Flames, despite a strong third period showing.

Coventry fell to defeats in both the Challenge Cup, losing 6-3 to the Flames at the Spectrum on Sunday, and in the Elite Ice Hockey League, after going down 4-1 to the Fife Flyers at the Skydome Arena on Saturday.

Speaking after the latest defeat in Surrey, Stewart said: “It was a really bad first period – for consecutive games we’ve spotted team’s momentum and goals.

“I thought in the second we were chasing the game a bit and we ran into penalty trouble.

“Our third was really good and indicative of how we want to play, but you can’t turn up for one or two periods and expect to win, especially on the road.”

A horrendous start to Sunday’s first Challenge Cup game of the campaign left the Blaze 3-0 down after just 17 minutes, with Cam Braes (9.45), Ben Davies (10.54) and John Dunbar (16.27) all netting for the hosts.

Stewart called for a time-out, which initially paid off when Luke Ferrara fired home on the powerplay at 17.18 before the period end.

But after a penalty-disrupted second period put Guildford into a commanding lead, with Jamie Crooks (28.40) and Brett Ferguson (32.54) both scoring, Blaze were looking set for a third-successive defeat.

Evan Bloodoff (34.11 and 45.56) did reduce the arrears with two unanswered strikes, but were unable to trouble Travis Fullerton’s goal any further, as Joshua Waller (58.36) wrapped up the scoring to seal victory.

It followed a second league defeat of the season a day before, with another slow start by Stewart’s men proving costly.

This time, it was Chase Schaber (7.00) to get the scoring underway, though Blaze found a response in the second period to level through Bloodoff (27.44) on the powerplay.

But with Danick Gauthier (28.34) striking back almost immediately to resume Fife’s lead, and with Coventry missing a number of chances to equalise, Paul Crowder (44.22) effectively sealed victory minutes into the final period.

A late powerplay lead to Coventry pressure, but with netminder Jamie Phillips well out of goal, Gauthier (58.55) added his second of the night to confirm victory for the visitors.

Blaze get set for a rematch with the Flyers on Saturday (7.15pm) at Fife Ice Arena, before hosting Cardiff Devils on Sunday (5.30pm) in the Challenge Cup.

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