Weber: Blaze must start closing out games

Coventry Blaze Head Coach Chuck Weber says his team need to start closing out games if they’re to reach the Elite League play-offs.

Two final-period goals condemned Blaze a 4-2 defeat against Nottingham Panthers – a result that leaves them in ninth place, three points behind Manchester Storm.

Weber said: “It is disappointing. That is three games in a row where we have been tied going into the third period and have failed to get points.

“We need to be a lot smarter managing our energy. 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.”

The game marked Russell Cowley’s 850th appearance for the club and while he was happy to reach the milestone, the result left him feeling frustrated.

“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,” said Cowley.

“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.

“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.”

Weber admitted Cowley is exactly the type of player any club would want to build around.

“It is a credit to Russ and his character,” he said. “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.”

(Image permission: Karl Denham)

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