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Coventry Blaze 12
Hull Thunder 3

Coventry Blaze kept their heads to earn a second consecutive goal glut against weaker opposition, with AJ Kelham leading the onslaught with four goals.

A reasonable crowd for a midweek game saw a largely British side take on understrength Hull. Beset by financial problems, the visitors only had ten players, plus a goalie.

Despite having an inexperienced team, and just one fan in the crowd, Hull got off to the better start and scored first through Florence. The ice seemed sluggish in the first period and the Blaze were unable to get any momentum going.

Coventry, assured of their superiority despite missing Soderstrom, Sjodin, Tasker and Chartrand, didnít lose their heads, and overturned the deficit.

A good move down the right by Tom Watkins tipped the puck into the centre for the mercurial Ruggles to score a short-handed goal on 16.30.

The second period, and Blaze moved into second gear on ice that wasnít as sticky. The Blaze discovered their knack of scoring two goals in quick succession to undermine the opponents.

Former Hull player Stephen Cooper was immense. He and Knights helped plug the defensive hole that has been too apparent in recent weeks, and he also provided new attacking options, scoring a rare powerplay goal for the Blaze

Seconds later Claude Dumas wriggled through a throng of players to flick the puck to Twaite, who gave Blaze a two goal cushion.

But Hull didnít give up, and Shudra scored a fine goal on the break that was generously applauded by the home fans.

Cooper cut inside the Hull defence to provide an attack from a new angle, and Dumas scored, and Kelham put the fifth in minutes later.

Still Hull made a game of it, and forced Hollyhead into making an excellent diving save before scoring the third through Plommer

But the game left the visitors in the third period as their lack of troops began to tell and Kelham scored three more goals.

Ruggles scored two, Knights slotted one home and Eley another, the puck brushing off his leg, as the Blaze notched up their 23rd goal in two games.

Another game beckons at Hull this weekend, along with the stiffest challenge of them all at Fife, who apart from a moment of madness against Hull recently, have been undefeated on home ice all season.

Period scores : 1-1/4-1/7-0

Penalty minutes : 2-10

Shots on goal : 49-18

Attendance : 902

Referee : Mohammed Ashraff

Blaze : Kelham 4+2; Ruggles 3+2; Dumas 1+4; Twaite 1+4; Cooper 1+1; Eley 1+0; Knights 1+0; Shewan 0+2; Watkins 0+2; Yardley 0+1.  Net - Hollyhead 18/3

Thunder : Plommer 1+2; Shudra 1+2; Florence 1+1; Payne 0+1.  Net - Noble 49/12
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CWN / Sport / Ice Hockey / Coventry Blaze / 9 Feb 01
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