COVENTRY Blaze were beaten 5-3 at home by Belfast Giants after Great Britain star Scott Conway scored a hat-trick in an entertaining affair at the Skydome Arena.
The GB international forward struck three times in between goals from Kevin Raine as the Blaze fell away in the third period.
John Curran netted twice for the Blaze to level the contest heading into the final period with Evan Bloodoff scoring Coventry’s third goal.
The defeat leaves the Blaze in third place in the Elite Ice Hockey League table – three points behind leaders Sheffield Steelers.
After Coventry wasted an early powerplay opportunity on 76 seconds the Giants took the lead when defenceman Raine fired a first-time effort past Blaze netminder CJ Motte at 9.56.
Belfast thought they had doubled their lead when they had the ball in the net again a couple of minutes later only for the goal to be ruled out as the net was off its moorings.
The visitors then struck the crossbar on a breakaway as the first period drew to a close before Coventry responded in style after the first interval.
Canadian forward Curran shot through a crowd of bodies past Giants netminder Tyler Beskorowany from Dillon Eichstadt’s pass at 21.09.
However, the Giants restored their lead through Conway at 32.58 only for the Blaze to be back on level terms soon after when Curran converted Janne Laakkonen’s pass at 36.52.
Conway produced a great shot to once again hand Belfast the advantage at 50.02 before Coventry equalised for a third time when the teams were four-on-four through Bloodoff at 52.53.
Following a defensive turnover by the Blaze, Conway scored his hat-trick goal at 55.41 beofre Belfast wrapped up the win when Raine fired the puck the length of the ice into an empty net at 59.13 after Coventry pulled Motte in search of an equaliser.
Blaze assistant coach Dayle Keen said: “We showed that we can skate with any team in this league, but we have some things to work on. On the whole we played some good hockey and there are plenty of positives to take.”
Coventry return to the ice against Guildford Flames in the Challenge Cup on Saturday, October 23 with the face-off at 6pm at Guildford Spectrum.