An exciting finish that saw Blaze tie in in the last seconds and Flames have an overtime goal wiped away ended for good when Bradley Lalonde nailed the winner during a 4 on 3, 4th period poweplay just 8 seconds from tiebreaking penalties as Spectrum’s men secured a 3-2 Cup win over the visiting Coventry Blaze.
Johan Eriksson kicked off the scoring early with a Flames strike less than 3 minutes in, but a quick reply on the powerplay for Marly Quince had the game level at a goal each by 3:54 and that turned out to be the only scoring of the frame where the home team outshot the guests by a 12-9 count.
There would be no scoring in the middle set either thanks to Taz Burman who kicked away another 6 shots while Blaze netminder Paavo Hölsä was good on the 9 he faced.
During a 3rd period powerplay inside the last 10 minutes, Ian McNulty broke the deadlock when he converted for the lead. By about 7 minutes from time, Flames found themselves down a pair of men killing a long 3 on 5 situation, but they held serve to get back to full strength with a lead. However, inside the last 60 seconds and with Blaze net empty in favour of an extra skater, the visitors earned a point and forced overtime with a Kim Tallberg equalizer just 4 ticks from close.
3 minutes into overtime Flames thought they had won the game with an McNulty decider, but a goaltender interference call on review wiped off the goal and the Flames resumed play but with a manpower advantage and a Blaze skater serving a penalty. Just as the penalty was timing out, and just 8 seconds from the ultimate tiebreaker, Lalonde’s bullet ensured the Flames would indeed collect the extra Cup point.
Burman closed the evening with 23 saves on 25 attempts, while Hölsä was 30 of 33.
“We really made everyone sweat that one out with giving up the late one when we thought we had it and then having the first OT goal wiped off before finally getting the winner,” said Paul Dixon.
“On the balance of play we were definitely worthy of the win, but boy it was hard getting there against a top Coventry Blaze side.”
“That is a difficult situation for our guys to be excited and celebrating what we thought was a win, and then to have to re-gather and settle down again to re-start play. The powerplay helped with that situation and a great effort by them to not let it knock them down and end up going on to the win.”
“Back to Cardiff tomorrow night and the hope that we can continue the good run in the Cup competition against them.”