A Blaze goal with seconds remaining in the 2nd and another just a few ticks into the 3rd turned the tide on a tie game as the Flames dropped a 4-2 road game at Coventry to lose sight of the Cup group table top.
A trade of 10 shots each on Taz Burman in Flames colours and Paavo Hölsä on behalf of Blaze saw no scoring in the opening set as the clubs closed the stretch still on a scoreless draw.
That changed just 81 seconds into the 2nd when Colton Yellow Horn started it for the home side. A Bradley Lalonde answer about 5 minutes later levelled, but Marly Quince only 33 seconds from period time gave Blaze an advantage they carried into the 3rd.
14 seconds after re-start Blaze extended to a 3-1 lead through Kim Tallberg, but Flames hit back less than a minute later through Ben O’Connor to be back to just a goal adrift. As the evening got late, Flames pulled Burman in favour of an extra skater and Ross Venus guaranteed the outcome with an empty netter 17 seconds from the end.
Burman had 21 saves on 24 shots, while Hölsä turned aside 30 of 32.
“We were hoping to top the group, so certainly a disappointing outcome with this one,” began Head Coach Paul Dixon.
“Both sides have now qualified for the Cup Quarter finals so what we are playing for is the highest seed we can be in the next round.”
“It’s good to be able to get another crack at them again in less than 24 hours on home ice and we want to be ready to be able to have a strong showing and try to collect a win to close out the round on positive terms before looking ahead to our advanced round opponent.”