Elite Series Day 2: Fortier helps Storm edge Steelers; Blaze sink Panthers

Max Fortier celebrates his overtime winner for Manchester Storm (PHOTO: Mark Ferriss)

Day two is over and as the opening weekend draws to a close, it’s already whetted the appetite for the month ahead as we round up the stories from the day at the Motorpoint Arena.

HEADLINES

  • Nottingham Panthers coach Tim Wallace sent into isolation “as a precaution” due to possible Covid contact.  Director of Hockey Gui Doucet replaces him behind the bench
  • Elite League apologises over Saturday streaming fiasco
  • Fortier seals late win for Storm over Steelers
  • Three first period goals enough for Coventry to claim win over Panthers.

NEWS

WALLACE SENT TO ISOLATE

Nottingham Panthers’ preparations for the game with Coventry Blaze were thrown into slight chaos when head coach Tim Wallace was asked to isolate for two days.

The NHS Track and Trace system had identified an individual on his flight into the UK who has tested positive for Covid-19 since.

As a precaution, he was asked to isolate for two days and it should be stressed he’s tested negative since arriving in the UK and every day since.

Director of Hockey Gui Doucet replaced him on the Panthers’ bench against Blaze and was in constant touch with Wallace from his hotel room. 

The head coach will be back behind the bench for the game against Manchester on Tuesday.

ELITE LEAGUE APOLOGISES FOR STREAMING CHAOS

Elite League board member Todd Kelman has apologised for the issues that crashed the Elite League TV system ahead of Saturday’s game between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers.

Thousands of people found they couldn’t access their accounts because of the issues, which caused an hour delay to face off and resulted in the EIHL streaming the game live on YouTube for free, which angered those who had paid for the streams beforehand.

“The truth is we screwed up and we’re sorry,” Kelman said in a video posted by the league, which you see below.  “We didn’t scale up on the technology to cope with the demand.

“We anticipated thousands of people would be watching, but we didn’t anticipate the demand.”

The Elite League have offered free games for fans affected, with information posted on the website for how they can claim it.

PRE-GAME POLLS

GAME RECAPS

SHEFFIELD STEELERS 4 MANCHESTER STORM 5

A goal in the last minute from Max Fortier secured a second straight win for Manchester Storm, who completed the opening weekend of the Elite Series in perfect form.

It was a great end to the opening couple of games for Ryan Finnerty’s team, despite letting a two-goal lead go and in the end they did enough to get them over the line.

Ben Churchfield made his first start between the pipes for Steelers after the lower body injury to John Muse on Saturday and did well, despite the circumstances.

It was the Steelers who took the lead after 10 minutes when Josef Hrabal blasted one from just inside the blue line to give them the lead.

Ciaran Long equalised a couple of minutes later, but Steelers were back in front through a low finish from Robert Dowd to end the period 2-1 up.

Long got his second of the game to equalise early into the second period and Storm built on that momentum with further markers from Ben Davies and Dallas Ehrhardt to go 4-2 ahead.

Liam Kirk scored his third of the tournament to narrow the gap, with Sandre Olden equalising three minutes into the final frame to tee up a nervy finale.

It needed someone in a big moment and it came from Max Fortier, who lashed a shot in from the tip of the left side face off circle over Churchfield’s shoulder and into the net to clinch a big victory.

SHOTS ON GOAL: Steelers 33 Storm 27

GOALSCORERS: 

STEELERS – Josef Hrabal (10:23 – S Jones); Robert Dowd (15:40 – Schulze); Liam Kirk (33:28 – Mikyska, Eberle); Sandre Olden (42:28 – Schulze)

STORM – Ciaran Long (12:51 – Simmonds, Klavestad); Ciaran Long (22:21 – Critchlow, Fawcett); Ben Davies (27:48 – Long, Simmonds); Dallas Ehrhardt (30:59 – Lundell Noer); Max Fortier (59:06 – Lundell Noer)

POST GAME REACTION

COVENTRY BLAZE 3 NOTTINGHAM PANTHERS 1

Three first period goals proved to be enough as Coventry Blaze bounced back from Saturday’s overtime loss to Manchester Storm to claim full points against Nottingham Panthers.

It was a great turnaround from Danny Stewart’s men after their loss to Panthers in Thursday’s exhibition game and the best way to end the weekend as Shane Owen did his bit between the pipes at the other end to keep Nottingham at bay.

It took only a minute and a half for Blaze to fire an early statement of intent when Tristan Keck finished a rebound after Nick Jermain had tested Panthers goalie Jackson Whistle.

Nicolai Bryhnisveen fired the puck home from the point from a pass from Alex Forbes to double the lead after ten minutes as Coventry made the best possible start to the game.

A powerplay opportunity paid off not too long after, allowing Blaze to go three ahead when Brendan Ellis was given a two-minute penalty for cross-checking.  It allowed Sam Duggan to tip one in from Jermain after Ivan Antonov’s secondary assist with an excellent pass.

No further goals were scored by either team and as the game made its way into the third period, Panthers put more and more pressure in an attempt to get something on the board.

Owen was in top form, but was eventually breached in the final seven minutes when Kevin Domingue tucked away a close range effort to deny the Blaze goalie a shutout.

SHOTS ON GOAL: Blaze 28 Panthers 26

GOALSCORERS: 

BLAZE – Tristan Keck (01:34 – Jermain, Hammond); Nicolai Bryhnisveen (10:22 – Forbes, Venus); Sam Duggan (16:36 – Jermain, Antonov)

PANTHERS – Kevin Domingue (53:37 – Boivin, Talbot-Tasse)

POST GAME REACTION

PHOTOS

(PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)
(PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)
(PHOTO: Panthers Images)
(PHOTO: Dean Woolley)
(PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

STAT OF THE DAY

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