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Blaze Risk Losing Momentum After Defeats

A tough weekend saw Coventry Blaze slip to third in the table as the BNL title race became a tough four-horse race.

Guildford Flames took the top spot, with Basingstoke Bison also moving up the table after Coventry suffered back-to-back losses.

Both matches, a 2-5 defeat in Basingstoke on Saturday and a 3-5 loss at home to the Fife Flyers yesterday, saw the Blaze dominate but fail to make their chances count.

Again the failure to score in powerplays proved decisive, as did brilliant performances by the opposing netminders.

In both games the Blaze managed to get more shots on goal, but were unable to make the chances count, while less secure defending let the opposition in.

On the plus side was a record crowd at the Coventry Skydome as standing tickets had to be sold to accommodate the 2,333 people watching.

The deluge of people brought bottlenecks to parts of the arena and complaints from the fans about the lack of good facilities in the new stadium as vending machines stopped working, cafe staff were overwhelmed and the ticket system went down.

Basingstoke Bison v Coventry Blaze  20 January 2001-01-22

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

Penalty minutes : 26-40

Shots on goal : 31-48

Referee : Dave Cloutman

Bison: Burgess 1+1; Manson 1+1; O’Connell 1+1; Daniels 1+0; Ellis 1+0; Cote 0+1.  Net - Foster 48/2

Blaze: Shewan 2+0; Watkins 0+2; Johnson 0+1; Twaite 0+1. Net - Sjodin 31/5

Coach Paul Thompson said after the Fife game:

"We had 50+ shots on net and didn't take our chances. We're a bit down on our confidence right now, but I can't fault a single person's commitment to getting a win tonight.

“We've took a set back. We're not used to losing, but the players have got to deal with it and it's my job to boost their confidence again.

"All the top teams have strengthened, but we've weakened with the loss of Steve Chartrand and Craig Chapman, that's no disrespect to Claude Dumas and Chris Kelland.

“But we've lost a very big chunk of leadership with those two guys, two guys that can control the ice out there."

Coventry Blaze v Fife Flyers 21 January 2001

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

Penalty minutes : 18-10

Shots on goal : 57-35

Attendance : 2333

Referee : Mick Litchfield

Blaze : Johnson 1+0; Kelham 1+0; Knights 1+0; Irvine 0+2; Kelland 0+1; Samuelsson 0+1; Soderstrom 0+1; Twaite 0+1.  Net - Holyhead 34/4 (time not recorded); empty net 1/1

Flyers : Monteith 3+1; Dutiaume 1+0; Morris 1+0; Russell 0+2; Morrison 0+1.  Net- Murphy  57/3


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CWN / Sport / Ice Hockey / Coventry Blaze / 22 Jan 01
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