Late Johnston strike seals point for Blaze
Canadian forward Andrew Johnston scored late to secure a deserved point for the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze against the Guildford Flames.
Despite later losing the game 2-1 on a penalty shoot-out, until 58.39 when Johnston registered it looked as though Coventry were to leave the Spectrum frustrated and point-less.
Danny Stewart’s side went into the game on the back of three wins in a row and gave a debut to new American goalie C.J. Motte whilst at the other end the Flames started Canadian Travis Fullerton.
A thorn in their side all night, Fullerton ensured his place on the highlight reel, denying Blaze’s top-scorer Luke Ferrara with a fantastic windmill stop in the early going.
The first goal and what looked like the game-winner came for the Flames at 7.26 as the dangerous Ian Watters beat Motte on the powerplay, assisted by John Dunbar.
Despite both teams having numerous powerplay opportunities, neither goalie was to be beaten again until Johnston’s late equalising strike as the two put on a tending clinic.
With the score tied at one after 60 minutes the game went into sudden death overtime in which Blaze fought well to keep the Flames out after Johnston was forced to sit a penalty.
No goals came in the extra period and so it went to a penalty shoot-out with the Flames coming out on top following goals from Watters and T.J. Foster.
Coach Stewart said post-game, “I’m very happy with our performance. I liked how we played throughout the line-up. C.J. came into the club and played very well, we defended well and created chances offensively. We got a good bounce on the game-tying goal but there were a lot of bounces that didn’t go our way as well. I felt we created the better chances but when it goes down to a shoot-out against these guys they have bags of skill and those moves they made in the shoot-out were top notch.”