NASTIUK SCOOPS EIHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze netminder Kevin Nastiuk has been awarded the Elite League Player of the Week for week ending 18th March 2018.
In a weekend of games that saw Blaze now go head-to-head with Braehead Clan for the final play-off place, Nastiuk was a huge reason for their four-point weekend.
And as the battle for the coveted eighth spot now comes down to the wire, the 32-year-old one-time DEL champion was especially pleased to have done well with his mum, Andrea, here to see him.
“My mother is in town and she hasn’t seen me play for a while so when your family are here, you want to play well in front of them,” he said.
“Overall, it’s been a great couple of weeks and the boys have been playing well. We’re pushing for the play-offs and it’s been tough, but we’ve got the points.
“There have been a lot of happy faces among the guys because of the wins we’ve been getting. But we know there’s still work to do and hopefully we can get the job done.
“It’s tough to say whether we’ll have an advantage because our games are later than Braehead’s this weekend, but they’ve been playing good hockey too and got some results along the way.
“We just have to worry about ourselves and what we have to do. We’ll just let the cards fall where they lay.”
Nastiuk made 26 saves out of 29 shots on Saturday as his team did their bit to end Dundee Stars’ play-off hopes in Coventry’s 7-3 home win.
Then he delivered an almost flawless performance, stopping 38 out of 39 shots as Coventry stayed a point behind Braehead Clan with a 1-3 win at Guildford Flames.
Nastiuk is the seventh goalie to win the award this season and fourth player from the Blaze to take the accolade, following on from previous winners Brett Robinson, Marc-Oliver Vallerand and captain Jordan Pietrus.
Blaze now have to beat either or both Manchester Storm and Guildford Flames in their final regular season weekend and hope Braehead Clan slip up in their two matches if they are to progress further.
Coventry Head Coach Danny Stewart was delighted for his netminder and revealed just how crucial a role Nastiuk played, especially on Sunday.
“It’s great to see ‘Nasti’ get recognised for his performances. He’s been a rock for us all season and gives us a chance to win every night.
“This weekend he stepped up when we needed it most. In the first ten minutes on Sunday, Guildford had us chasing shadows and he shut the door for us and gave us time to find our feet.
“This award is overdue and I'm thrilled for him.”