The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze fell to a 5-2 defeat to Guildford Flames in the Challenge Cup at the Spectrum on Sunday.
Nolan Kent got the start in net for Coventry who were again without injured forward J.D. Dudek while Taz Burman got the nod for Guildford who were seeking to end a run of six straight defeats.
The opening came for the home side on a five-on-three powerplay when Ben O’Connor fired a one-timer past Kent from the point at 12.50. Guildford’s Man of the Match Logan Fredericks then capitalised on a Blaze turnover at 15.05 to score his first of two and give the hosts a 2-0 lead to end 20 minutes.
Blaze’s Man of the Match Kobe Roth got his side back into the game 72 seconds into the second period, but Brian Lemos restored the two-goal advantage for Guildford just over six minutes later.
Tempers flared at the half-way mark as Tyler Kirkup was called for roughing, followed shortly after by a fight between Nathan Ripley and Jordan Klimek.
Kyle Locke of the Flames was then accessed a cross-checking penalty which former Guildford player Ian McNulty took full advantage of at 31.00 to make it a one goal game.
The Flames weren’t to allow Blaze back into it, though, as Fredericks bagged a second at 38.55 to make it 4-2 after two periods.
Peter Crinella all but ended Coventry’s hopes of adding to their four Cup points when he finished Alex Yuill’s cross-ice pass just a minute into the third.
In the final minutes both Fredericks and Blaze Captain Brady Norrish were given ten-minute unsportsmanlike penalties as the rivalry between the teams continued to grow stronger.
With their 5-2 victory, the Flames moved to four points from five Cup games, the same tally as the Blaze. Cardiff Devils lead the group with six points from four games.
As it stands all three teams in the group would qualify for the quarter-final stage with Cardiff going through as a top seed and Coventry and Guildford beating the win percentages of more than two teams in other groups (cup format explained).
But, with more games to play, things are far from settled and Blaze will face the Cardiff Devils away on Saturday and home on Sunday in Cup competition which will have a big bearing on progression.
Photo credit: John Uwins