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Coventry Blaze 6
Slough Jets 2

Coventry Blaze rounded off a good weekend’s work with a second win over the Slough Jets at the Skydome.

The 6-2 scoreline reflected the level of control the Blaze had throughout the match. Towards the end of the second period it looked as if they were going to run away with it, but most of the final section of the game was a stalemate.

The Jets, reeling from an 8-2 home defeat on Saturday, started the game as they meant to go on: with one of their players in the penalty box.

An early power play saw the Blaze take the lead through Mike Shewan, assisted by Samuelsson and Dumas.

From this point the Jets were playing catch-up. The only time the Blaze looked vulnerable was on the break and Barry Hollyhead, preferred in the net for this game, had to make a save in the sixth minute from a long shot.

In the meantime, Knights had narrowly missed with a stinging shot after a sharp one-two exchange with Tasker, and Tasker himself also went close.

Another power play to Blaze saw Mats Samuelsson whip in the first of several of his trademark exocet shots. He wasn’t to find the net all night, but must have given the Slough net minder food for thought, as well as a bruise or two.

The script went off kilter at this point: despite having an advantage on the ice, Coventry Blaze let their lead slip. Hollyhead blocked Mitch Grant’s shot, but it trickled past him and into the net.

With the Jets’ collection of Jasons spending much of the game in the box (Kendall and Reilly got 12 minutes between them), the Blaze were frequently at an advantage, but not always able to make this count.

Eventually Shaun Johnson broke through the defence lines to put the home side in front at 14.39, with assists from Tom Watkins and Marc Twaite.

Again, a long-range Slough effort trickled into the net at the beginning of the second period, Mitch Grant firing the successful shot to make the score 2-2.

This ushered in a period of uncertainty as the Blaze tried to regain their advantage. The pressure slowly grew, with Knights, Eley and Kelham all going close.

Both teams were reduced by one player after Jason Kendall and Mathias Soderstom were sent to the box when the goal of the game was scored.

Samuelsson passed to Knights who flicked the puck through the Jets, clinically slicing through their defence and leaving Claude Dumas through on the net. The new signing made no mistake, and the Blaze regained the lead on 29.14.

Acting captain Hilton Ruggles demonstrated his inconsistency, limply missing an easy shot, before firing in an excellent effort that narrowly went wide, before the Blaze sealed the game.

Shaun Johnson dummied the Slough Jets defence by tapping the puck to his left for Tom Watkins to fire in the fourth goal of the night, with Marc Twaite getting the second assist on 35.28.

The game was sealed on 38.21 with a sharp goal involving most of the team. The puck whizzed around in front of the Jets’ goal while Kendall was again resting in the box.

Samuelsson and Shewan claimed the assists as Tasker gave the Blaze a 5-2 lead.

It looked as if Coventry had put themselves in a position to run riot in the third period. But the game became scrappy, and Hollyhead was called into action several times to make good saves.

Just as it seemed the players were content to hit each other, instead of the puck, with queues almost forming for the penalty box, Kurt Irvine woke the moribund crowd up with ten seconds remaining.

A fluent breakthrough the Jets line saw him scoring from long range down the left, with Shaun Yardley claiming the assist.

Another routine win, but with a three goal deficit to overturn in the ntl cup semi final again Guildford Flames on Wednesday, and defending champions Fife Flyers visiting next Sunday, the crowd will have to give the Blaze more support if the victories are going to turn into trophies.

Period scores: 2-1/3-1/1-0

Penalty minutes: 10-16

Shots on goal: 41-18

Attendance: 1847

Referee: Graham Horner

Blaze: Dumas 1+1; Johnson 1+1; Shewan 1+1; Watkins 1+1; Irvine 1+0; Tasker 1+0; Samuelsson 0+3; Knights 0+2; Twaite 0+2; Yardley 0+1.  Net - Hollyhead 18/2

Jets: Grant 2+0; Dailey 0+1; Gallace 0+1; Pinnington 0+1.  Net - Gallace 41/6
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CWN / Sport / Ice Hockey / Coventry Blaze / 15 Jan 01
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