Manchester Storm were back in action after their overtime loss to Nottingham Panthers where Coventry Blaze were next as Ryan Finnerty’s side looked to bounce back.
With the previous two meetings going beyond regulation time, would it happen again in another tightly-fought contest?
📊 WHO WILL WIN? 📊
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MANCHESTER STORM 3 COVENTRY BLAZE 4
Sam Duggan scored what proved to be the winner as Coventry Blaze finally picked up full points from Manchester Storm at the third time of asking.
It was a big win for the Blaze in the context of the competition so far as they piled misery on Manchester, who are now four losses in the last five.
Storm started the stronger of the two sides in the early stages, peppering chances in and around the Blaze crease and keeping Owen on his toes.
But the deadlock was broken up the other end when Tristan Keck fed off a Storm turnover and played in Mike Hammond, who beat the starting Sam Gospel with the shot.
Cole Shudra soon doubled the advantage for Coventry not longer after, forcing the puck in from close range, which needed the aid of a video review before the officials were satisfied.
Manchester got one back on the board in the second period when Jacob Lundell Noer scored on the powerplay, helped by Andreas Klavestad with the assist.
Keck fired one over the bar as Danny Stewart’s side looked to restore their lead, but they finally managed to get it around 35 minutes.
Needless to say it was Keck on target, during a five-on-three powerplay, as the puck bounced around the crease and the forward on hand to deliver the finish.
The early stages of the third period were halted due to an injury to linesman Lee Young, who needed to be stretchered after picking up an accidental knock.
The game carried on and Gospel was called upon to make three big saves, but it was in vain as Sam Duggan delivered a low shot that beat the Storm goalie to put them 3-1 ahead.
Manchester needed to produce something big in the final 10 minutes and captain Dallas Ehrhardt led by example with a well hit shot that found itself past Owen to reduce the arrears to two.
Ryan Finnerty pulled Gospel with a couple of the minutes to go and the gamble paid off as Max Fortier rifled one in through a forest of legs from the top of the circle to make it a grand finale, with Storm pushing.
But it was as much as they could muster as Owen, with a top drawer performance, kept the door shut in the remainder of the game as Coventry took the points.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Storm 56 Blaze 22
Storm – Jacob Lundell Noer (28:12 – Klavestad, Gran PP); Dallas Ehrhardt (50:06 – Fawcett PP)
Blaze – Mike Hammond (03:55 – Keck); Cole Shudra (08:58 – Krogdahl, Clements); Tristan Keck (34:54 – Bryhnisveen, Hammond PP); Sam Duggan (48:55 – Antonov)
POST GAME REACTION
PHOTOS (all by Mark Ferriss)