Stewart hails defensive effort

Brian Stewart praised a dogged defensive display by Coventry Blaze as they secured a 2-0 home win over Sheffield Steelers in the Elite League.

The Canadian goaltender made 48 saves in a man-of-the-match performance to register his second shut-out of the season.

But after goals from Russell Cowley and Brett Robinson ensured back-to-back wins, Stewart was quick to praise his team-mates.

He said: “It was a big win and we needed it. Our PK was exceptional and they were blocking shots. The boys did a great job defensively.

“They had a lot of shots from the outside and from the point but they let me see a lot of the shots and they managed to clear the second pucks where a lot of goals are scored.

“We have been better defensively in these last three games and I am happy to be getting my game back on track.

“Expectations are a lot higher. There are always highs and lows but I am always working on my game.”

Blaze travel to Manchester Storm on Sunday looking to end a run of four successive defeats against them this season and post a first four-point weekend.

Stewart added: “They play a pretty wide-open style, they create a lot of chances but they also give up a lot of chances.

“They are very opportunistic but we cannot worry about them. We need to take care of our own business and continue to play a solid defensive game.”

Head Coach Chuck Weber commented: “A win is a win. Credit to Sheffield because they came out and played fast, we were a little slow and we had to hold on.

“I told the boys at the second intermission we have 20 minutes to forget about the first 40. We had more intensity and the Cowley goal was big.

“Our powerplay was not pretty for the most part, but it was a good sign for us that we found a way to win when we were not really good for 40 minutes.

“Stewie had a lot of saves but give the boys credit I thought we cleared away a lot of trouble, they battled around him and we blocked a number of shots.

“This last three games he has really come into his own. He has been a bit like us this season – he has shown flashes of brilliance and there have been nights when he will be the first to admit he has not been good enough.

“We have dug ourselves a pretty big hole and we need as many wins as possible. A four-point weekend would be huge.”

(Image permission: Scott Wiggins)

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