Eihl; Blaze victorious in important Friday night game
In a rare Friday night ice hockey battle at the Skydome Arena, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze secured a huge 3-2 victory over the side just behind them in the Elite League standings, the Guildford Flames.
The 5th placed Blaze went into the game without top-scorer Luke Ferrara and fellow forward Ross Venus who are both on international duty with Great Britain. The odds were evened somewhat with the Flames missing Ben Davies, also with GB, and Steve Lee through personal reasons.
The night didn’t start well for Coventry as Braylon Shmyr made a nice play to put the visitors ahead after just 35 seconds.
Through Johnny Curran the Blaze got level on 12.42 with Dillon Eichstadt and Coventry’s top-point-scorer against Guildford, Janne Laakkonen picking up the assists.
On 36.23, Coventry took a lead with Andrew Johnston scoring in a 5th straight game against the Flames to make it 2-1. The goal was a historic one for Laakkonen who became the first ever Blaze player to record multiple assists in five consecutive games.
With Ferrara and Venus absent, fellow Brit Alex Forbes was asked to play regular minutes and his excellent performance was rewarded with what turned out to be the game-winning-goal at 43.14. Finishing a broken play, the number 14 ended the night with a man-of-the-match award for his efforts too.
Guildford made the final ten minutes a nervous affair when Jordan Rowley made it 3-2 (50.14) with Shmyr picking up his second point of the evening.
Backstopped by the outstanding C.J. Motte, Coventry were able to keep the Flames at bay in the final minutes with the main action point being a scrap between Blaze’s Matt Pohlkamp and Flames’ Brett Ferguson.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I thought we played a really good hockey game. It wasn’t an ideal start but from then I don’t think we gave too much from a defensive standpoint. I thought we were good all over. We were skating, won a lot of puck battles and managed the puck well. We had 75 points out of our line-up but when that happens you need players to step up and Curran and Forbes did for us scoring goals. I also thought (David) Broll was really good tonight.”