Christmas Preview by Ed Kimberley
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze’s Christmas fixtures include two back-to-back’s with conference opponents Guildford Flames and then they meet Midlands rivals the Nottingham Panthers.
Once the Turkey has been gobbled and the in-laws have visited, Danny Stewart’s troops will close out 2019 with a New Year’s Eve fixture vs. the Cardiff Devils. So, will it be the season to be jolly for Coventry or will they find their way onto the naughty list?
To begin, this weekend, Danny will unveil his early Christmas present, new netminder C.J Motte and the fans will be hoping he is a cracker. Coventry in competitive games this season are yet to beat the Flames but have taken two of the games to OT/Penalty Shots. A 4-point weekend for the Blaze will propel them back into the mix and put them within striking distance of Paul Dixon’s side in the standings. Special teams could be the difference in the two games with the Flames holding the second best powerplay in the league, and Blaze third. The performances of Blaze Assistant Captain Luke Ferrara who leads the team for scoring, and American Charles Corcoran who sits amongst the league leaders for points will be crucial going into the festive fixtures and both will be looking to (sleigh) ride their recent hot form.
On boxing day in Nottingham (4pm) and then at the Skydome Arena on Saturday 28th December (7pm), the Blaze will take on Tim Wallace’s Panthers in two of the busiest games of the year. Get your tickets quick if you intend to go to either!
After an early season struggle, Gui Doucet was allowed an early Christmas gift, unwrapping ex-Blaze winger Jake Hansen. Hansen, has gone a point-per-game and since more decorations have been added to the Panthers tree in the form of Julian Talbot and Ryan Ho(ho-ho)rvat. The signings appear to have rejuvenated the Panthers who have moved up to fifth in the league and qualified for the Continental cup super-finals.
Blaze and Panthers have met twice in competitive game this season splitting the series 1-1.
Before the January sales begin, the Blaze will end 2019 by taking on the title chasing Cardiff Devils on New Years Eve (4.30pm) at the SkyDome Arena.
The two teams have seen a lot of each other this season and will know what their opponents have in their stocking. The series is currently split 2-3 in the Welsh sides favour, but as we know well, Coventry love spoiling a Cardiff party, and will be looking to put another dampener on the Devils’ New Year festivities.