COVENTRY Blaze’s season came to an end at the first hurdle of the Elite League play-offs after Danny Stewart’s side slipped to a 6-3 aggregate defeat against Cardiff Devils.
Blaze were thrashed 5-1 on home ice at the Skydome Arena in the first leg and were only able to win 2-1 at Ice Arena Wales in the second leg to bow out at the quarter-finals stage.
Coventry beat Cardiff in their final game of the regular season and made the perfect start when Johnny Curran opened the scoring at 13.12 from close range past Great Britain international Ben Bowns.
However, Devils levelled at 17.42 when Brodie Reid scored on a turnover before three goals in the space of nine minutes in the second period left Blaze with a mountain to climb.
Joey Martin tuned the game in Cardiff’s favour at 22.26 before Josh Brittain tapped home at 24.50 and Josh Waller struck at 29.41.
And Blaze were then denied by a stunning Bowns save on a five-on-three powerplay before Trevor Cox completed the scoring for Devils at 56.34 on a disastrous night for Coventry.
Despite winning the second leg in Wales, Blaze were unable to overturn the four-goal deficit from the first leg despite Kim Tallberg’s crucial early goal at 6.19 on the powerplay.
And Blaze doubled their lead at 23.05 when Ross Venus marked his final appearance in Coventry colours with an assist as he teed up Tyler Kirkup to score after superb work from behind the Cardiff net.
Blaze netminder Miklos Rajna kept Devils at bay for much of the game with some fine saves only for Jake Coughler to eventually strike at 58.00 after the former was pulled for an extra skater.