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Coventry Blaze 11
Edinburgh Capitals 2

A Tom Watkins hat-trick saw Coventry Blaze get some confidence back as they ended their poor run of form against under-strength visitors.

An early goal by Shaun Johnson set the tone for the evening, with Hampton replying for the Capitals.

But it was the second period where the Blaze accelerated into an unassailable lead. Ruggles (twice), Kelham, Eley and Watkins all scored.

During this time the Blaze showed they also have the appetite for a fight, with Michael Tasker and David Patterson being ejected from the game shortly after halfway for a punch-up.

By this time, the Capitals, who started with just 13 players, had lost their spirit, and could only managed a Svanstrom goal in the third period as Watkins and Cooper both scored twice.

Peterborough narrowly failed to do the blaze a favour by beating Basingstoke Bison, going down after penalties.

It means that Coventry are fourth in the BNL table, with a game in hand over Fife, who are one place ahead of them, and three in hand over leaders Guildford.

The Blaze are unlikely to be able to catch up, but have already qualified for the play-offs, which start in March.

A good run this week, with a home game against Hull on Thursday and a double-header away at Hull and Fife, could be crucial for position in the league, which determines who the team will play in the play-offs.

Period scores: 1-1/6-0/4-1

Penalty minutes: 29-25

Shots on goal: 49-25

Attendance: 1775

Referee: Simon Kirkham

Blaze: Watkins 3+5; Johnson 2+4; Ruggles 2+4; Cooper 2+2; Eley 1+1; Kelham 1+1; Shewan 0+3; Dumas 0+1; Twaite 0+1.  Net - Hollyhead 25/2

Capitals: Hampton 1+0; Svanstrom 1+0; Hough 0+1; Karlsson 0+1.  Net - Crossland 49/11

Last night’s result was a welcome relief for the Blaze, who had continued their losing streak at Peterborough the night before.

Their 100 per cent record in the Planet Ice Shield went in a away 4-3 defeat. Blaze improved on their supine midweek performance, with more grit in defence, but still lacked confidence in front of goal.

Yardley, Soderstrom and Ruggles all scored, but two of the goals came only after a deficit had built up.

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

Penalty minutes: 8-12

Shots on goal: 28-29

Attendance: 750

Blaze: Yardley 1+1; Ruggles 1+0; Soderstrom 1+0; Irvie 0+2; Knights 0+1 Johson 0+1; Watkins 0+1
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CWN / Sport / Ice Hockey / Coventry Blaze / 5 Feb 01
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