Flames lost their grip on a 2 goal lead late in the 3rd period at Coventry Blaze, but still secured a 4-3 win thanks to a Peter Crinella overtime winner less than a minute from penalties.
To get started, exactly 2 minutes after puck drop, Ian McNulty had Flames in a lead, but a Blaze reply a little over 3 minutes later from Alexander Kuqali had it level, and it remained that way through the end of the frame.
The clubs traded a pair of minor penalties each across the 2nd set, but only an even strength marker by Mike Crocock just beyond the game’s halfway point changed the score.
On a 45th minute powerplay, Ben O’Connor extended the Flames lead to 3-1, but a pair of Blaze strikes in the back half of the 3rd through Brady Norrish at 51:07 and Marly Quince at 53:52 suddenly had the teams deadlocked at 3. Flames were forced to kill a late period penalty and did so successfully to force extra time setting the stage for Crinella’s last minute decider.
“With the way the league race is shaping up, we need every point we can get," explained Paul Dixon, "so certainly hanging on to get to overtime after a bit of a wobble, then going on to get the extra point is a welcome outcome.”
“There is so much parity when you get on the ice against any team in this league, it is tough to carry the night from start to finish and roll to a win without any roadblocks. The game could have gone either way, and we are glad that we were able to persevere to get the result.”
“We have a long week ahead of us with a trip to Belfast to be followed by an immediate visit to Glasgow before coming home, so now it’s time to start looking at how we are going to manage rest to be as ready as possible for a very difficult schedule challenge on the way.”