RUSSELL Cowley cut a frustrated figure after his 850th appearance for Casino Coventry Blaze ended in a 4-2 defeat at Nottingham Panthers in the Elite League.
Goals from Chris Bruton and Drew Fisher helped Blaze recover from a two-goal deficit on Sunday night as Chuck Weber’s side looked to end a run of three straight defeats.
But a final-period double from Evan Mosey won it for Panthers at the National Ice Centre as Cowley ended his milestone game on the losing side.
Cowley said: “We have had two games where we have lost it with two and a half minutes to go and for a third game in a row we were tied going into the third.
“We need to start seeing games out. The boys are upset because we have missed out on another chance to pick up some crucial points.
“I am frustrated because the team lost but I have received a lot of nice messages from people and it is always nice to reach certain milestones.
“It is a long time and something I am proud of. I have loved every minute of my time here through all the highs and lows.
“But my focus and the team’s focus right now is all about making the play-offs and we need to start picking up some points.”
Coach Weber was disappointed to lose another match despite being tied heading into the final period, but he reserved praise for Blaze legend Cowley.
“It is a credit to Russ and his character” Weber added. “He is the type of guy a club wants to build around.
“To have played that many games tells you what kind of person he is on and off the ice and his dedication to his craft and his willingness to do whatever for the team.
“He has sacrificed personal stats over the past two years to be a dominant penalty killer and has embraced the role of a shut-down guy.
“We need to be a lot smarter managing our energy,” Weber added. “We are spending too much time defending and we are not creating enough offensively.
“It is all about points now. It is frustrating because these three games have gone by, they are opportunities you can’t get back. We need to start closing out games.
“We know how tough our schedule is but we need to find ways to get points. We have to get something against Cardiff and Sheffield next weekend.”