Blaze victorious on emotional night

The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze dented the Cardiff Devils’ hopes of catching the Sheffield Steelers at the top of the Elite League table with a hard fought 1-0 victory on an emotional night at Skydome Arena on Wednesday.

The fixture was the first on home ice since the sad passing of Assistant Coach Dayle ‘Keeno’ Keen and a fitting tribute was made to him ahead of face-off.

When the action got underway, Blaze began the brighter but couldn’t beat an inspired Ben Bowns in the Cardiff net.

At the other end, former Devil Taran Kozun was also strong in the Coventry goal, and the first period ended scoreless.

Despite the score remaining 0-0, things opened in the second period. Blaze had the bigger opportunities with Bowns denying both Kobe Roth and Mitch Cook on one-on-one chances.

Both teams also hit the post, as each inch of ice became hardly fought and the two netminders began to steal the show.

Coventry broke the deadlock just over a minute into the third when Johnny Curran was able to score on a rebound from a Tyler Kirkup shot (41.06).

J.D. Dudek had a big opportunity to double Blaze’s lead a couple of minutes later, but Bowns was again able to come to the Devils’ rescue.

Devils’ top scorer Cole Sanford nearly tied the game with six minutes left but for a second time Blaze Man of the Match Kozun had his pipes to thank for keeping hold of a 29 shot clean sheet.

With three minutes remaining, Cody Donaghey then hammered the puck off Kozun’s crossbar and despite pulling Bowns for the extra skater the Devils couldn’t find an equaliser in the final minutes.

Photo credit: Scott Wiggins