Tuesday 11 November 2014

Laidler Match Report: Coventry Blaze 2 - Solihull Barons 10

The Taylors Butchers NIHL Coventry Blaze slumped to their fifth straight loss and winless for 31 days, in that time they have scored just 16 goals but have conceded 43. This time it was local rivals and runaway league leaders Solihull Barons and a 10-2 loss.

Solihull took just over one minute to score their first goal, Tomas Janaks initial shot being blocked by netminder Chris Gill but Thomas Soar as on hand to put the rebound past the helpless keeper. The Barons second comes two minutes later as Connor Hubbuck feeds Richard Slater from behind his own blue line, Slater firing it past Gill from close range. Dale White, Gareth O’Flaherty and Philip Pollok all test Solihull netminder Josh Nicholls but last season’s top stopper is on form again this season and saves all the efforts calmly. Despite the effort put in by the Blaze, Solihull are an unstoppable force in this period and Richard Crowe gets the third. He picks up the puck in his own defensive territory and skates between three defenders, pulling moves that shouldn’t be allowed with children watching and then flicks it in. Perry Doyle comes close to scoring as he sneaks in on the right hand side behind the Blaze defence but his shot goes just over.

The Barons make up for it a minute later as Joe Henrys shot narrowly misses from a very tight angle but Ryan Selwood is there to show Henry how it’s done. Louis Brindle muscles past two Solihull defenders against the boards and feeds it to Jay McFadyen whose one-timer is saved in dramatic style by Nicholls. Henry gets a goal with a minute remaining as his long range effort clips the glove of Gill and drops into the net to finish off the period on a 5-0 score line.

Five minutes in Crowes shot is parried by Gill but the Barons know how to tidy up, Eaton is on hand to tap in the loose puck. Henry gets another assist two minutes later, passing to Soar who has his back to the net. He turns and shoots, giving Solihull seven unanswered goals. Corey Goodison steps in to the netminder position as Gill makes one save but can’t get up quick enough for the rebound, Goodison throws his body in front of the puck to keep the puck out. Phil Knight with a pinpoint pass from the right hand side defensive blue line to the left hand side offensive blue line finds David Rogers who puts it away for goal number eight. Gill and the Blaze defence step up their game for the final few minutes of the second period to see the period out.

A netminder change in the period break sees Graham Laverick try his luck against the dominant Barons and he manages to make a good save a few minutes in, slowing the puck down with a leg save and then throwing his body onto the loose puck. With tempers flaring in this A45 derby Barker and Whitehouse drop the gloves, Barker eventually getting his opponent to the ground. Doyle receives a match penalty for checking to the head of Pollok who would need helping off the ice. With the big man out of action Coventry step up and start playing, the team making the most of their 5on3 powerplay. The team take shots from everywhere and eventually Sam Hammerton puts it away for their first goal. Selwood wastes no time in getting the lead back as he fires one past a stationary Laverick with seven minutes remaining. With Selwood in the box, Nicholls loses his stick and the Blaze pounce on the chance with James Pease finding White who spots the gap and fires it home.

Dale Buckland is never one to back down from a fight so when his first argument goes nowhere he’s more than happy for Simon Harrison to step in. They seem fairly evenly match as both players are throwing punches before Harrison hugs Buckland, getting the referees to step in and end the fight. To finish off the game, Soar gets his hat trick and Henry gets his fourth assist of the night leaving the Blaze to contemplate a 10-2 loss until next weekend’s trip to Telford.

Report by Marcus Gambrill

Photo: Coventry Blaze's Philip Mulcahy by Stuart Bell