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Blaze battle back for well-earned road win

Photo: Dean Woolley

An excellent, battling road performance led the Coventry Blaze to a road win in Sheffield 4-3 over the Steelers on Wednesday night.

Coventry were already without the suspended Davids Broll and Clements, while backup goalie Jordan Hedley was scratched on game day leading to a call-up for young netminder Miles Finner.

Former Blaze man Marc-Olivier Vallerand opened the scoring with a nicely placed wrist shot from the circle for a powerplay goal at 5:21. That was a lead that the Steelers held until 15:42 when the Blaze responded - having not scored on their 5-on-3 advantage, Luke Ferrara fired home from a similar position to Vallerand at the other end to tie it up. 

Vallerand put the hosts back ahead with a slapshot into the bottom corner of CJ Motte's net at 16:28 to give Sheffield the lead after the opening period.

Sheffield were given an early powerplay in period two with Dane Gibson given a minor for elbowing Keaton Ellerby who would not return to the game. At 25:57 a scuffle after the whistle saw the Blaze defenseman slash Brendan Connolly between the legs which meant the end of his night on a five plus game ejection.

That advantage, however, went begging for the Steelers who couldn't convert, and then had to watch as Ferrara tied the game with 2:49 left in the period on the powerplay after goalie Barry Brust was given an interference penalty. The Blaze's joy was short-lived however with Matias Sointu opening his account for the Steelers at 38:22 to put them back ahead.

Brust was then called for tripping 18 seconds into period three, and again the Blaze punished him and his team - Janne Kivilahti with his first for the team at 40:26 to tie it up. 

It got better for the Blaze just under three minutes later when Ryan Penny knocked in a loose puck after a Janne Laakkonen shot to put the Blaze ahead for the first time in the game. Motte all nine shots he faced in the period, including extra pressure for the last 1:47 as the Steelers pulled Brust for the extra attacker but to avail - the Blaze held on for a well-earned away win and handed Sheffield their second straight home defeat in the Premier Sports Elite League.

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