Inspired by a 34 save performance from Canadian netminder Taran Kozun, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze claimed a valuable Elite League point from a 2-1 overtime defeat to Sheffield Steelers at Utilita Arena Sunday.
Coventry began the game brightly and had a golden opportunity to go ahead when a 3-on-1 opportunity landed on the stick of top-scorer Kobe Roth but the American shot just wide of Matthew Greenfield’s net.
After that missed opportunity, the Steelers began to take control of the game and heavily outshot Blaze 16-6 in the opening period.
The home sides opening goal came on 7.45 when Brett Neumann found space behind the Blaze back-line and finished in close on Man of the Match Kozun.
Blaze had Kozun to thank for the scoreline remaining 1-0 after 20 minutes as the Canadian pulled off several first-class stops, particularly on a late Sheffield powerplay opportunity.
Both sides generated chances in the second, but neither team opened too much as the game turned into a battle of nutrition.
With 9.23 of the game to go, a dogged Blaze side were rewarded for their hard-fought efforts as American J.D. Dudek finished neatly from an excellent pass by Alessio Luciani to make it 1-1.
Kozun continued his stellar form, and the Steelers began to get frustrated as they searched for a late game winner.
They had an excellent chance to get it in the final two minutes as they were awarded a fourth powerplay of the night, but the stubborn Blaze defence continued to stand firm.
Like the opening fixture of the season, the game went to overtime and again the Steelers’ were the winners. Robert Dowd was the hero scoring at 62.43 on a cross-ice pass from Mitchell Balmas.
Photo credit: Dean Woolley