Ice Hockey
Four off as Coventry Blaze lose out to Belfast Giants

By Steve Carpenter Tuesday 06 November 2012 Updated: 08/11 15:31

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Buy photos » But Leeb was sent of during the same fixture at the Skydome on Sunday evening. (s) Photo by Mark Tredgold

THERE was more controversy surrounding Blaze for the second consecutive week after four players were ejected during an ill-tempered defeat to Belfast Giants in the Elite League.

Just one week after clashing with Cardiff Devils in the Challenge Cup, Paul Thompson could only look on as four of his side were ejected from the clash during the 8-5 defeat at the Skydome on Sunday night.

Blaze enforcer Benn Olson,Mike Egener, Brad Leeb and Peter Hirsch were all giving their marching orders which enabled Belfast to move to the top of the league standings and leave Blaze sitting in fifth position.

But head coach Paul Thompson insists his side will not change their style of play as he seeks to resolve Sunday's ejections with league officials.

"Hirschy getting chucked out killed the game, but if my players are going to get thrown out for sticking up for each other then so be it," said Thompson.

"Leeb is a mild-mannered guy but he got a two-handed slash across the legs by Stewart and there was no call and his frustration came out. We will be asking the league to review that.

"There was then an altercation with Stewart and Steve Chalmers and Hirschy stepped in to protect his team-mate. I thought that was the wrong call.

"Belfast were smart and lured us into a few things. But this is the mentality we have this year, that is the way we will be playing every week and we are not going to change."

Thompson's side raced into a 2-0 lead inside six minutes through Matt Beleskey and Mike Schutte, but the visitors hit back with two quick goals of their own to make it all square again on Sunday evening.

Leeb, the hat-trick hero in a 5-4 overtime win over Giants 24 hours earlier, was then the first to be ejected for abusing referee Andy Carson after he was seemingly slashed by Greg Stewart.

Giants went ahead for the first time in the match before it all kicked off with 71 penalty minutes being called as Egener received a match penalty and goaltender Hirsch was thrown out.

This meant back-up Adam Goss entered the fray and was beaten not long after coming on as Giants made it 4-2.

Olson and Keefe then went for round two on 25 minutes which saw the Blaze player also leaving the game for his third fighting offence.

Dustin Cameron pulled a goal back before Matt Towe and former Blaze blue-liner David Phillips made it 6-3.

Cameron and Clarke traded goals and Greg Leeb made it 7-5 as Blaze kept battling back but Phillips’ second strike of the game gave Giants the victory.

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Buy photos» Brad Leeb scores the sudden death winner in overtime against Belfast Giants on Saturday. (s) Photo by Mark Tredgold

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