After a pair of terms shutout from the trophy count, and failure to reach the 2015 Coventry Playoff finals for the first time since entering the English Premier League, an ever evolving side found a way to make their mark on the 2015-2016 term by posting just the 5th multi trophy season in club history thanks to the Cup and Playoff crowns.
Though the end result was a jewel, the road to the top was a challenge. It started with a busy off season with several everyday players departing the club in favour of a fresh new lineup. Former GB international Defenceman Kevin Phillips joined the squad from Belfast Giants along with fellow blueliner Rupert Quiney who transferred from reigning League and Cup champion Telford Tigers. Up front, Slovenian skater Matic Kralj landed in Guildford as did Swedish winger Jens Eriksson. They were joined by Slovak Erik Piatak while Stephen Wall was inserted as a new member of the goaltending duo. A mixed result first half of the campaign had the Flames hovering around mid-table. Looking to improve their lot, roster change continued mid-season with the departure of Piatak and the acquisition of British forwards Andrew Melachrino and Lee Esders. Latvian national team member Janis Ozolins also joined the squad. The Flames net was not immune to ‘on the fly’ staff adjustments either when incoming Finnish netminder Richard Ullberg replaced Wall; the Flames starter on most nights through the early part of January. Though the consensus pick at that stage of the season may not have given the Flames much chance at significant success the rest of the way, a continually evolving club found a bit of magic.
9 wins from 12 games in 2016’s opening month helped the Flames retain a top half spot with an eye on higher table positions, but never losing sight of a tight pack that included teams in close pursuit. Perhaps the highlight of the January run was back to back Cup semi-final wins over eventual League champion Basingstoke Bison to advance Spectrum’s men to the Cup final for the first time since winning it all in 2013. The 2nd leg of that semi was the 1st of 10 wins on the bounce, 9 in league play, and a top form run into the Cup final. Indeed Spectrum’s tenants went on to collect the Cup Championship with a 9-1 opening leg win over Peterborough Phantoms before cruising to a 12-6 two game aggregate goal victory that ended the trophy drought.
From then it was all eyes on the playoffs and a quarter final 2 Leg aggregate date with Swindon Wildcats. A 2-1 defeat in the opener at Swindon left a little work to do on home ice, but at determined team up to the task banked a well-timed 2-0 win, 3-2 on aggregate, to advance to the playoff semi-final by the minimum margin. At Coventry, as luck would have it, Cup opponents Peterborough Phantoms had a chance to avenge their earlier cup defeat. At least a goal in each period for Surrey’s side, however, dismissed that objective and cemented a 4-1 win and a Playoff final date with Milton Keynes Lightning for a shot at the title. In the winner take all event, the Flames powerplay exploded for 4 goals to propel the club to a 6-2 win that secured the trophy and completed the ‘Double’.