ICE HOCKEY: DANNY STEWART’s Coventry Blaze side earned their first four-point-weekend of the season following impressive displays against Belfast and Manchester at the Skydome.
The Blaze were faced with two home fixtures on successive nights, a rare occurrence, though the change didn’t phase Stewart’s men as they firstly defeated Belfast 4-1 in the Elite League before triumphing 3-0 over Manchester in the Challenge Cup.
Both wins came at a crucial time for the Blaze after the Skydome outfit have suffered an inconsistent start to the season, finding back-to-back wins hard to come by.
Star netminder Brian Stewart was declared fit to ice again after suffering from concussion last week when involved in an incident with Sheffield’s Zack Fitzgerald last Saturday.
Stewart’s presence seemed to be the catalyst for Blaze’s success as they conceded just once against the Belfast on Saturday night while there was success down the other end for Josh Godfrey, Garrett Klotz and two for Ross Venus.
The win ensured Coventry moved up to seventh in the Elite League table with nine points from 12 games.
Coventry managed to win convincingly again on Sunday as they defeated the Manchester Storm 3-0 in a must-win Challenge Cup game.
An inspired Josh Godfrey put the Blaze ahead once again at 15.07 with a hard one-timer from the blue line, leaving Storm netminder Mike Clemente with no chance of saving.
Skipper Jordan Pietrus provided two goals in the second period – firstly deflecting a shot from Godfrey before adding a third for the Blaze shortly before the end of the second period when batting home a loose puck.
Although the Blaze had several other clear cut chances, Storm netminder Mike Clemente denied the Blaze a fourth – though Blaze coach Danny Stewart was pleased with the weekend’s performance.
He said: “Last weekend was tough and we didn’t get the results, but the boys put it behind them and performed.
“I personally spoke to some of the team leaders but the players themselves had meetings together and it certainly benefitted us tonight.
“We scored some timely powerplay goals and put plenty of pressure on Manchester’s game.
“Brian Stewart had his best weekend of the season too – we had everything we needed to play successful tonight and it felt good.”