Match Preview: Storm fired up for the Blaze
PRE- SEASON TICKETS: The Go Goodwin’s Manchester Storm are gearing up for the 2016/17 Elite Ice Hockey League season with two home games against the Coventry Blaze on Wednesday 31st August and the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday 3rd September. Tickets can be ordered online or by calling the box office on 0161 926 8782, or in person at the box office.
The countdown is finally over, as your Go Goodwins Manchester Storm return to the Storm Shelter for their first game of the 2016/17 season (7pm face-off).
Coventry Blaze are first up at the Shelter, less than 5 months after their playoff final defeat to Nottingham last April. Danny Stewart, replaces the Rochester-bound Chuck Weber as Head Coach. Stewart has retained a strong core from last years squad whilst adding in some new faces in a bid to improve on last seasons 8th placed finish. Their pre-season started last week with wins over the Nottingham Panthers (6-5) and Dutch side Tilburg Trappers (3-2), followed by a tight 3-2 loss on bank holiday Monday to the Cardiff Devils, who scored the game winning goal with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
Blaze are backstopped by EIHL all-star Brian Stewart and young British prospect Renny Marr. ‘Stewie’ needs no introduction after two seasons of posting over 90% save percentage in the Elite League, and gives the Blaze a chance of winning every night. Expect both him and Marr, who played 6 games last year, to get some ice time in this pre-season game.
In charge of keeping the likes of Neilson and Heatley away from the Blaze net are the returning Jorgensen, Godfrey, Noble, and Clements, alongside new additions Shawn Boutin and Marc Cantin. Both join the Blaze from the ECHL, with Cantin bringing over 100 games worth of AHL experience with him. The Blaze forward lines combine the experience of GB internationals Tait and Cowley with the youthful exuberance of Venus, Liam Stewart, and Matt Selby, the offensive power of Pietrus, Robinson, Matt Marquardt, and Bjorn Bombis, and the sandpaper of Darcy Zajac (brother of NHL star Travis Zajac) and Garrett Klotz. Marquardt, Zajac, and Klotz all join the Blaze with AHL experience (707 games combined), whilst Bombis moves over from the highly touted DEL2 league.
Last season the Storm proved to be a bogey team for the Blaze, with 5 of the 6 games going the way of the Storm. The Storm outscored the Blaze 22-16 over those 6 games, the highlight being the 4-1 victory in Altrincham last September, with goals from Davy Phillips, Salazar, Caria, and Scarsella securing Storm’s first competitive win over an Erhardt conference side. Blaze’s solitary win came in the final league game of the season, when they ran out 6-2 winners in the Sky Dome.
The Storm defence will need to watch out for Brett Robinson, who scored 3 goals and assisted on 2 others against Manchester last year. Danny Stewart was well-known for his feisty play, and always wore his heart on his sleeve. Expect his new-look Blaze squad to play the same way.
One to watch: Hot handed Swede Robin Bergman joins after scoring 101 goals in 5 successful seasons in Denmark and Norway, and was the 10th top goalscorer in the Danish league last year. He has looked dangerous already this pre-season, finding the net twice for the Blaze.
- Doors open from 6pm
- Face-off at 7pm
- There is NO skating post game tonight.
- Live updates from the game will be via StormLive
- “Shirt Off His Back” is Player-Coach Omar Pacha
- 50/50 & “Chuck a puck” will also be running.
Tickets are still available, but are selling fast, so to avoid disappointment be sure to buy before you arrive via the box office or online HERE.