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15th November 2008
|Referee: A Carson|
|Match complete||Coventry Blaze|
|2 : 0 : 2 = 4||Goals||0 : 1 : 0 = 1|
|14 : 7 : 16 = 37||Shots||9 : 14 : 11 = 34|
|2 : 6 : 4 = 12||Penalties in Minutes||2 : 6 : 36 = 44|
Sheffield Steelers 4-1 Coventry Blaze
4991 saw Coventry out-skated and ultimately paying a heavy price for their indiscipline in this thrilling top of the table clash. Both Sheffield powerplay goals came from Danny Stewart penalties and he was ejected from the game for his protestations. With ex-Blaze keeper Jody Lehman having an immense game, Jeff Legue wristed home from the left (15:29) and Ashley Tait slammed home a rebound (19:03) with Stewart sitting a slashing minor. Blaze had the better of the second but only with Jonathan Weaver’s powerplay strike (32:47) as Ryan Finnerty sat a hooking penalty. Robert Dowd netted from close-in (55:38) and with Blaze thinking the game was over Brad Cruickshank wrapped up the scoring (59:30).
Blaze came out hard and fast creating all the early chances. Stewart tested Lehman from low on the right. A minute later Sylvain Deschatelets had time and space but the shot was gloved. Then Adam Calder went across the top of the zone but the keeper made the save.
Jason Hewitt got up the right and his drop pass let Randy Dagenais find JF Perras’ blocker but this was a rare sortie form the home side and the unsighted Lehman did well to blank Carlyle Lewis’s right wing shot. Finnerty headed to the box but the visitor’s famed powerplay produced just one chance with Scott Kelman attempting to force the puck home at the left post.
The home side began to find their form and Rod Sarich forced a good save. Yet the best chance came at the other end where Russ Cowley blazed wide from 10 feet when it seemed easier to score allowing a counter attack with the in-form Dowd trying his luck from the left.
Joey Talbot almost sneaked one through from low on the right but Perras kept it out despite falling backwards in the attempt.
With chances at a premium the opening goal arrived out if the blue. A pass from the left corner found Legue who shot first-time across Perras.
Sheffield were flying now and Hewitt tipped a cross goalwards but straight at the keeper. Finnerty tried his luck and then Talbot got down the left wing, forcing a save and earning Stewart his slashing penalty in the process.
Dowd’s shot from distance was padded to Sheppard close-in, but Perras saved again. However Dowd’s next shot from the right produced a rebound for Tait to bundle home.
Two minutes into the second period Mark Thomas inadvisedly tried to skate the puck out of defence past Calder and was promptly stripped of the puck. Calder advanced a few yards but Lehman gloved his effort and then stopped a follow up from Barrie Moore.
Another two minutes and Lewis’ shot from the right was turned aside but Cowley got on the end of it only to fire wide across the net from a tight angle.
Ben O’Connor fired the puck out for a delay of game penalty which saw Sarich fire wide when well placed along with saves from Dowd and Legue. Back at full strength Talbot tried his luck from the left.
At the other end Lehman froze the puck on the doorstep and Lewis piled in trading blows with Scott Basiuk. The pair headed for the box with Sheffield back on the powerplay. Perras had just one save to make from Sarich whilst Deschatelets blocked a shot and got away up the right, only to be thwarted by the keeper rushing out to poke-check clear.
With Sheffield pressing Finnerty took a hooking penalty and Weaver made the most of the powerplay, firing home from the left wing with Lehman unsighted.
Blaze had the momentum now and Moore got up the left, his shot padded out to the onrushing Leigh Jamieson, but the defender fluffed his chance firing straight at the prostrate keeper.
Basiuk first-timed a screamer from the left and Blaze broke with Lewis trying his luck from the right. O’Connor and Weaver both tested the keeper from distance. Talbot skied the puck into the stands for a delay of game penalty, but Lehman made two saves from the powerplay.
A quiet start to the final session in terms of chances. Cruickshank was blanked when he got in and went right then Legue fired in from the left. Watkins’ holding penalty saw Basiuk first-time another pile-driver but it was gloved. Matt Soderstrom got up the right for a speculative shot but back came the home team with Legue’s shot rebounding nicely for Dowd but the youngster missed the puck.
Back at full strength Perras was denying Finnerty and then Cruickshank with Moore getting up the left to test Lehman at the other end.
Just past the halfway mark Dowd got behind the defence but was robbed before he could get a shot away and instead Thomas found himself sitting a holding penalty as Blaze skated round the back of Steelers’ goal. Weaver first-timed a screamer from the left to Lehman’s glove. From the face-off Jonathan Phillips chased a clearance up the left boards and Calder took an interference minor easing him up.
No shots from Sheffield on that powerplay though Perras turned aside a good shot as Calder returned. But soon afterwards Stewart took a holding the stick penalty near the Sheffield blue line. His in-your-face comments to the ref earned him a misconduct and then an automatic game misconduct and he headed for an early bath.
It took Steelers nearly a minute to force a save with Dowd’s left wing shot being gloved. Dowd won the face-off on the left and then got to the net in time to bury the rebound from Legue’s right wing shot and give Sheffield some insurance.
Blaze threw everything at Sheffield and Tait took a hooking penalty at his own end. Coach Paul Thompson called a timeout and soon Calder was firing in from low on the left. Again the puck bounced out to Cowley, but again he couldn’t bury the chance. As the powerplay ebbed away Lewis was blanked from the right wing.
Back at even strength Sheffield’s clearance up the right boards was flicked away towards the halfway line by the Blaze defence. Finnerty jumped on the puck, kept going and found Cruickshank pushing up the left wing. Perras didn’t even see the puck as it whistled past him into the net.
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