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Coventry Blaze 5
Peterborough Pirates 1

Another record crowd, five goals, four fights and a dancing dragon – what more could the Coventry Blaze want on a winning weekend?

A double victory over the Peterborough Pirates has left Paul Thompson’s side looking a reasonable bet for the valued third place in the BNL standings.

Yesterday’s home match against the Pirates saw the Blaze stamp their authority in a good game that descended into mob violence as the rattled visitors dispensed with the puck and used their fists instead.

Once again the start had been delayed because of crowd congestion.

The end result was a 2,516 audience – an impressive sight and a good atmosphere, but another frustrating wait for those who had bothered to buy their tickets in advance.

The fun was added to by Cedric the dancing dragon, who took to the ice during the interval, sashaying away to raise funds for NCH Action for Children.

A tight first period saw plenty of smooth hockey, but no goals. Blaze were generally superior, and got in plenty of shots, but to no avail. Peterborough defended well to ensure a 0-0 score at the first break.

Blaze’s defending had more spine to it – helped in no small measure by the return of captain Steve Chartrand from injury.

Wearing a face mask to protect his jaw, the verve and grit that has occasionally been lacking in the last two months returned.

It was a crunching tackle from defence, by Mathias Soderstrom, that set the opening goal up. He prostrated himself in front of an attacker to win the puck and send it down the ice.

The immense Cooper, who always seems to have more time than any other player, sent a fine cross in to Watkins, who scored.

Cue celebrations, but only for a short while as the Pirates equalised. Tasker missed the puck as it was sent down the ice by the short-handed pirates, and other attempts to clear it were fluffed.

Shields emerged from the penalty box to be gifted the puck in front of an open run on goal, and he didn’t miss such an easy opportunity.

Just on the half-hour mark, the Blaze moved up a gear. Johnson passed from the left corner to Watkins, who seemed to miss the puck, but Shewan was lying in wait, and regained the lead.

No sooner had that crowd sat down than they were on their feet again as Ruggles scored straight from the restart.

This double-whammy, seen so often in the second period, as good as ended the contest, and chance after chance rained on Raitanen in the Pirates’ goal.

Kelham made the score 4-1 as a patient build up on a powerplay led to another goal, and Peterborough were forced to call a time-out to try and re-group.

That it was to be Coventry’s day seemed inevitable when at the end of the second period and beginning of the third they successfully defended a powerplay with two of their players in the box,

Claude Dumas scored on 49.50 to cement the victory with a very tidy goal, and Peterborough, sensing defeat, switched goalie to give David Whitwell a run out.

That he didn’t let anything in for the remainder of the game was largely due to the tendency of the Peterborough team to launch into any Blaze player who ventured into their half.

Newman set upon Eley, and while that was being disentangled, Knights won an encounter with the Pirates’ Geoff O’Hara.

The Blaze box started to get crowded with Irvine being sent in for a foul, and the first set of miscreants had just returned to the ice when Peterborough’s Chris Jamieson launched into Shaun Johnson for no apparent reason.

Johnson wasn’t penalised for his involvement, but Kelham was minutes later when he pulled Mark Mackie’s shirt off as they exchanged blows in front of the Blaze goal.

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

Penalty minutes : 36-34

Shots on goal : 36-19

Attendance : 2516

Referee : Graham Horner

Blaze : Watkins 1+1; Dumas 1+0; Kelham 1+0; Ruggles 1+0; Tasker 1+0; Cooper 0+2; Johnson 0+2; Soderstrom 0+2; Knights 0+1.  Net - Hollyhead 19/1

Pirates : Shields 1+0; Hammill 0+1; Jamieson 0+1.  Nets - Raitanen (49’50) 30/5; Whitwell (10’10) 6/0


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CWN / Sport / Ice Hockey / Coventry Blaze / 19 Feb 01
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