Elite League preview: Stewart wants Blaze to tighten up

Coventry Blaze head in to Sunday’s Elite Challenge Cup game at home to Nottingham Panthers with a warning from Head Coach Danny Stewart ringing in their ears.

Blaze warmed up for the clash with a see-saw pre-season game at Manchester Storm, where they blew a three-goal lead before securing a 7-6 overtime success.

Brett Robinson fired the winning goal, but Stewart has urged his team to tighten things up this weekend.

He said: “It was a crazy game, but that’s what pre-season is all about.

“The first and third period we played great hockey. The second period, I addressed it, we gave up four goals because we got a little bit selfish with a three-goal lead.

“Guys got caught on the wrong side of pucks and we were forcing things. It wasn’t good and we’ve got to nip that in the bud.”

Fife Flyers get their cup campaign underway this weekend as they host Belfast Giants on Saturday, before travelling to meet Braehead Clan on Sunday.

Having secured back-to-back wins in their pre-season games against German Oberliga side EC Peiting, new Assistant Coach Jeff Hutchins is confident going into this weekend’s fixtures.

“Training has been good this week – the pace has picked up and the group look sharper than last week,” said Hutchins.

“There’s a real buzz around the room, the guys are excited to get the campaign going.

“I certainly think making the quarters is a must this year and taking that one step further to the semis in order to give ourselves an opportunity to challenge for the cup.

“Once you get into those stages any team can win over a two game series. But we need to take care of business in the group stage first.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants

Sunday

Braehead Clan v Fife Flyers
Coventry Blaze v Nottingham Panthers
Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm

(Image permission: Mark Ferris)

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