COVENTRY Blaze lost their place in the Challenge Cup as former academy product Adam Goss stole the show to give Milton Keynes Lightning a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
After a long trip back from Glasgow, Coventry went into the must-win cup game without long term absentees Miika Wiikman and Ross Venus, plus American Shawn Pauly who was added to the injury list.
MK, who sprang the surprise start of Goss over usual number Partick Killeen, were also heavily depleted but got off to the perfect start with Tim Wallace registering on the powerplay at 5.44.
It took some time but Coventry finally beat the inspired Goss at 26.32, Norwegian defenceman Nicolai Bryhnisveen scoring on home ice for the third straight time.
The game wasn’t tied for long, though, as Swede Andreas Valdix found space in front of the Blaze net, beating Miroslav Kopriva for 2-1 on 28.56.
Try as they might, with a total of four powerplay opportunities and 37 shots including several grade A scoring opportunities, Coventry could not find another way past Goss, leaving them with a frustrating defeat and their Challenge Cup hopes dashed.
Head coach Danny Stewart said: “You have got to tip your cap to them.
“They were short-benched and playing their third game in three nights.
“Young Goss played a phenomenal game but they defended and played with a bit more urgency than us.
“I think we had the better quality but you can’t win if you don’t score.
“It was just one of those nights but we should have been winning that game plain and simple.”
CAPTAIN Kevin Morris bagged a double to help Coventry Blaze to a well-deserved 5-3 victory over the Glasgow Clan on Saturday night.
Glasgow took an early lead through Matt Haywood (3.06).
The unassisted effort was the Brit’s first of the season.
The score was tied at 8.35 when Alex Forbes celebrated Coventry’s first trip of the season to his native Scotland by opening his account for the club from Luke Ferrara and Shawn Pauly.
Just 3.06 into the second period, identical to the time of their opener in the first, Clan made it 2-1 through Matt Beca on a delayed penalty.
Blaze, though, roared back with three goals in the final five minutes of the middle period.
Ben Lake, who has been in sensational form, made it 2-2 with his fifth of the season (35.21), assisted by Trey Lewis.
Morris got the go-ahead goal shortly after (36.54) before the helper on the strike, Kelin Ainsworth, grabbed one of his own exactly a minute later (37.54) for 4-2.
Josh Gratton, who had an assist on Beca’s earlier effort, made it a one-goal game on 42.44 and the home side went looking for an equaliser.
It wasn’t to be, though, as Morris grabbed his second of the night (50.20) to secure the man-of-the-match award and an impressive 5-3 victory for his side.
Head coach Danny Stewart said: “We have played some good hockey away from home but have struggled to find the net so it was good to see some go in and get that road win.”