Devils fortunate to beat Blaze at Skydome
Casino Coventry Blaze were unlucky to fall to a narrow 3-4 defeat to the title chasing Cardiff Devils on New Years Eve at the Skydome Arena.
Blaze went into the game without Captain Drew Schiestel and David Broll whilst the Devils were also missing their influential leader in Joey Martin and Blair Riley who on the same day was winning a Spengler Cup with Team Canada.
The Elite League’s leading scorer Luke Ferrara gave Coventry a deserved lead at 7.07 on the powerplay but the resilient Devils hit right back as Mark Louis took advantage of a Blaze defensive mistake to make it 1-1 at 13.24.
The tide turned in the second period, from Blaze having the better of things to the Devils gaining the quality opportunities on the net of C.J. Motte.
The pressure turned into a goal at 25.08 as Charles Linglet registered following a turnover in the Blaze defensive zone.
At 44.10, Cardiff went 1-3 up when a speculative effort took a fortunate bonce off the back boards, hitting Bryce Reddick in the chest and the puck finding its way past Motte.
Shortly after came the goal of the night as man-of-the-match Evan Bloodoff’s fine solo effort put Blaze back to within one at 44.41.
With the Skydome crowd in fine voice, Andrew Johnston scored for the third time in as many games against the Devils to make it 3-3 (47.17) but the score didn’t remain tied for very long.
The fourth Devils goal, and eventual game-winner, was another fortunate one as McNamee lofted the puck to net, it hitting the hand of a Blaze defenceman and falling into the net (48.01).
With the clock ticking down, Motte was pulled from the Coventry goal for the extra skater and as per their luck of the night, Janne Laakkonen’s strike thundered off the goalpost as the buzzer sounded on a 3-4 Devils victory.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I thought we played a really good game. We made a couple of mistakes and credit to Cardiff they are a good team and made us pay. The third and fourth were unfortunate and I sound like a broken record but the line between winning and losing is so fine in this league. There were a lot of positives, just unfortunate about the result.”