COVENTRY Blaze returned to winning ways with victories against Manchester Storm and Nottingham Panthers ahead of the final game of the regular season this weekend.
Blaze won a back-and-forth contest 4-3 against Storm at Altrincham Ice Dome thanks to a clinical third period before Johnny Curran struck twice in a 7-4 win against Panthers at the Skydome Arena.
The results mean Blaze have secured a fifth place finish in the Elite League standings.
After a goalless first period in Manchester, Anthony DeLuca opened the scoring for Storm at 29.30 only for Kim Tallberg to equalise seven seconds later with his 25th goal of the season.
Tyler Barrow restored Manchester’s lead at 36.38 before Blaze struck twice in the space of two minutes as Mitch Cook’s outstanding solo effort at 42.35 and Colton Yellow Horn’s effort at 44:53 completed the turnaround.
However, DeLuca’s second of the game at 52.10 on the powerplay restored parity only for Marly Quince to win the game for Blaze with 55 seconds left to play.
On home ice against Nottingham, Blaze took the lead at 13.59 through Curran’s first of the night as Panthers hit back courtesy of Jeremy Welsh’s strike at 14.24.
However, goals from Cook at 17.19 and David Clements at 19.10 sent Blaze into the second period with a healthy two-goal lead.
And Blaze extended their advantage when Jack Billings found the top corner at 30.26 before David Levin scored twice on the powerplay at 34.44 and 47.40 to keep Panthers in the contest.
The home side responded through Curran’s second of the game just eight seconds later before Matt Myers reduced the deficit to a single goal once again at 50.27.
However, Blaze eventually sealed the points as Ross Venus produced a neat finish at 53.42 before Alex Forbes scored into an empty net at 59.36 after Panthers pulled their goalie for an extra skater.
Blaze finish the regular season at home to Cardiff Devils on Saturday, April 1 with the face-off at 7pm at the Skydome.