Match report

Blaze complete sensational come-back victory

Blaze 4
Panthers 3

In spectacular fashion, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze came from 1-3 down to beat the Nottingham Panthers 4-3 in overtime at the Skydome Arena.

A Blaze side, already low on numbers following the departures of Kelin Ainsworth and Trey Lewis, suffered a further blow before puck drop with news that star forward Jake Hansen would miss 6-8 weeks with a lower body injury.

With goals from Dylan Olsen on the powerplay (14.51) and Ollie Betteridge (18.51, Panthers took a 0-2 advantage to the locker room after the first period. It might have been three but for the heroics of returning netminder Miroslav Kopriva who pulled off a stunning same to bring the Skydome crowd to its feet. 

Coventry, who could have felt sorry for themselves chose not to, and the fight-back began through the in-form Ben Lake scoring on the man advantage (36.41), the only goal in the middle twenty minutes.

At 47.36, through Brett Perlini, Nottingham likely thought they'd done enough as the Brit beat Kopriva in the Blaze goal for a third time.

With Nottingham suffering ill discipline, more and more powerplay chances came for Coventry.

However, Panthers' Man of the Match Michael Garnett proved to be a constant thorn in the side, eventually stopping a huge 37 shots on 41 attempts.

Backed by a vocal home support, the Blaze never gave up and got their just reward at 53.37 as Luke Ferrara registered for the second night running to make it 2-3. The goal, Coventry's second of three on the powerplay.

The equaliser came shortly after as Norwegian Nicolai Bryhnisveen finished a tremendous effort (56.02) for 3-3.

Taking  a tenth penalty of the night in the closing seconds, Nottingham offered Coventry a huge opportunity to win the game 4-on-3 in overtime.

It was a chance they took as Justin Hache ripped home the winner just 20 seconds into the extra period, assisted by Blaze Man of the Match and Player of the Month for November 2018, Alex Nikiforuk.

HC Danny Stewart