Blaze suffer heavy first-leg defeat

The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze suffered a heavy 0-6 defeat in the first-leg of the Challenge Cup Semi-Final at Skydome Arena against Sheffield Steelers.

The top-seeded Steelers started perfectly and took a lead after just 12 seconds when Mark Simpson found space in front of Taran Kozun’s net and finished neatly from Daniel Ciampini’s pass.

Robert Dowd then doubled the Steelers’ advantage, re-directing a Niklas Nevalainen feed past Kozun at 2.06.

Despite Danny Stewart calling a time-out to try to settle his Blaze side, the Steelers continued their domination and went 0-3 up at 9.40 through the red hot Man of the Match Ciampini.

Things got even worse for the home side when Ciampini’s wraparound pass found Scott Allen who made it 0-4 at 12.42.

At 16.17 Patrick Watling scored Steelers’ fifth unanswered in a nightmare first period for the home side who were playing in their first semi-final since 2015.

Blaze grew into the occasion in the second period and forced Matthew Greenfield into a couple of good stops, but Sheffield hit a sixth just ahead of the half-way mark with Allen bagging his second of the night on 29.51.

Coventry thought they had got on the board at 52.23, but Brady Norrish’s effort was ruled out due to goaltender interference by Johnny Curran.

Little incident followed as the Steelers kept hold of their commanding lead ahead of the second-leg at Utilita Arena in Sheffield on Wednesday 31st January (7.30pm).

Photo credit: Scott Wiggins