The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze used their powerplay and an overtime winner from Alessio Luciani to topple the Belfast Giants 3-2 at Skydome Arena on Saturday.
The home side were without assistant coach Dayle Keen, defenceman Archie Hazeldine and forward Jack Hopkins who will represent Under-20 World Championship Division II Group A which takes place in Dumfries next week.
Ciaran Long joined Mark Garside on the sidelines for the Giants who handed a second debut to Henrik Eriksson who re-joined the club earlier this week after helping them the Grand Slam last season.
The Blaze had a couple of chances on the man advantage in the first period but couldn’t convert past a dogged Giants penalty-kill and All-Star netminder Tyler Beskorowany.
Belfast’s defensive efforts were rewarded at 21.01 when Quinn Preston beat Taran Kozun one-on-one from a through pass by Daniel Tedesco.
The Giants continued to find themselves in penalty trouble and at 24.03 Kobe Roth was able to re-direct Kim Tallberg’s shot into the net to tie the game on a penalty to former Blaze forward Ben Lake.
Soon after, Lake again found himself in the box and he was joined by Kohei Sato which gave Blaze Captain Brady Norrish the opportunity to fire his side ahead with a rocket shot from the point on a 5-on-3 powerplay at 29.50.
Frustrated by the whistles against them, the Giants were adjudged a bench minor at 31.28 for abuse of officials and their indiscipline continued when Lake was thrown from the game for spearing Ian McNulty.
The third period calmed as Coventry focussed on keeping hold of their slender lead, but that was put at risk with 2.30 to go when Luciani was sent to the box giving Belfast the opportunity to pull Beskorowany for a 6-on-4 advantage.
Just over a minute later, the Giants were short again when in his desperation to re-gain the puck to find an equaliser Bobby MacIntyre was adjudged a tripping penalty.
It looked as though Coventry had done enough, but with Beskorowany pulled for a second time, Kohei Sato scored on a scramble in front to the game 2-2 with 32 seconds remaining and send it to overtime.
In the extra period, Blaze weren’t able to convert on their short powerplay to start but did find a winner at 62.51 when Luciani converted expertly on a breakaway to make it four wins in a row for Coventry.
Photo credit: Scott Wiggins