Blaze beaten in home opener

The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze were beaten 4-6 by Fife Flyers in their 2023/24 Elite League home opener at Skydome Arena on Sunday.  

Blaze began brightly and took a lead after just 21 seconds as David Clements’ shot was converted into the net by Man of the Match Kobe Roth.

As they did all night, the Flyers responded well and were level after 2.53 when Troy Lajeunesse was able to take advantage of a Blaze lapse in defence to beat Taran Kozun.

Coventry regained the lead at 13.44 when defenceman James Shearer jumped into the rush to finish an odd man rush pass from Roth.

With a shot from the blue-line Alexander Kuqali got Blaze two ahead but the Flyers didn’t let their heads drop and they scored two quickly to tie the game again.

It was a sloppy play by the home side in the defensive zone which led to Benjamin Hawerchuk’s strike 14 seconds later to make it 3-2 and then Fife took advantage of a 3-on-2 to level the score 3-3 at 22.59.

With the period winding down there was still time for two more goals and at 37.25 Blaze took the lead again when Ian McNulty’s cross-ice pass deflected off the skate of Fife goalie Shane Owen and into the back of his net.

Kozun pulled off a wonder save with just over a minute remaining in the second period, but he was again beaten when Fife had another 3-on-2 chance with 59 seconds left, converted by Johan Eriksson.

Opportunities came and went for both teams in the final period but with 1.64 remaining it was Fife who found the game-winning-goal through their Man of the Match Lajeunesse whose speculative effort alluded Kozun to give the visitors a 4-5 lead.

Kozun was pulled by Blaze coach Danny Stewart for the extra skater in the final minute as his side chased an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be as Kyle Osterberg scored into the empty to end a frustrating night for Coventry and give Fife the two points by a score of 4-6.

Photo credit: Scott Wiggins