By Kris Smith
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Game 11: Coventry Blaze V Sheffield Steelers
In the second meeting of the two historic sides, it will be up to Danny Stewart’s Blaze to derail the runaway freight train that the Steelers are becoming.
The Yorkshire club have won three matches on the bounce, scoring 21 goals in that time and 28 in their five games this season.
Tuesday 13 April, Face-off: 19:00
CB – 2-1-2
SS – 4-1-0
Tristan Keck – 7 points in 5 games (4G, 3A)
Mike Hammond – 6 points in 5 games (1G, 5A)
Nick Jermain – 5 points in 5 games (1G, 4A)
Tanner Eberle – 11 points in 5 games (5G, 6A)
Liam Kirk – 9 points in 5 games (5G, 4A)
Robert Dowd – 8 points in 5 games (4G, 4A)
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Coventry have rotated their starting netminder in recent games with Jordan Hedley getting his first start of the season last Friday. The young Brit was in for the 5-4 overtime defeat to Manchester before his competitor, Shane Owen returned and the Canadian currently has the best save percentage (92.31) and Goals Against Average (3.01), after facing the most shots (156).
Meanwhile in Sheffield’s crease, Ben Churchfield holds a 4W-1L record since being called up to fill in for the injured John Muse. The British shot-stopper has faced 139 shots, allowing 17 goals against in his five appearances.
The Steelers dominated proceedings with a 7-2 victory that saw them continue their surge to the top of the league table.
Robert Dowd, Sondre Olden, Liam Kirk and Jason Hewitt were all on the scoresheet for Sheffield, alongside a Tanner Eberle hat-trick.
Whereas, Tristan Keck and Nick Jermain were the two Blaze players to beat Churchfield in the clubs first encounter of each other.
Game 12: Nottingham Panthers V Manchester Storm
Whilst the Storm aim to continue putting the pressure on Sheffield at the summit of the Elite Series standings, Nottingham will be aiming avoid a third successive defeat and start their climb up the table.
Wednesday 14 April, Face-off: 19:00
NP – 1-4-0
MS – 3-2-0
Christophe Boivin – 6 points in 5 games (2G, 4A)
Kevin Domingue – 5 points in 5 games (4G, 1A)
Brendan Ellis – 5 points in 5 games (0G, 5A)
Ciaran Long – 8 points in 5 games (5G, 3A)
Scott Simmonds – 7 points in 5 games (3G, 4A)
Three Players – 4 points
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Ben Bowns and Jackson Whistle have been fully utilised by Tim Wallace, allowing both netminders to play in three games each.
However, their statistics do not reflect the true quality of their goaltending department.
So far, Bowns has the second highest GAA in the league (3.91) and the lowest save percentage (86.76 per cent), while Whistle holds the second best GAA (3.48) and third best stopping percentage (87.84 per cent).
Although, whilst both have conceded 9 goals each, only Bowns has a mark in the win column this season.
Whereas, Manchester have solely trusted Sean Bonar in nets and heading into his sixth match, he has a 3W-2L record, with a 3.79 GAA and 87.82 save percentage.
The Panthers recorded their only victory this season in their last outing against the Storm and it was a 3-1 win for the Nottinghamshire club.
Despite the red-hot form of Ciaran long getting Manchester on the board, the Storm were unable to match the strikes of Christophe Boivin, Oliver Betteridge and Lewis Hook.
Game 13: Manchester Storm V Coventry Blaze
This will be the third instalment of this matchup in the 2020-2021 Elite Series and to date, Manchester Storm have forfeited late leads before saving themselves in extra time on both occasions.
Thursday 15 April, Face-off: 19:00
Last Tuesday saw the Storm put in a similar performance to opening day and after leading late in the game, they allowed the Blaze to draw level at the very last moment.
However, Ryan Finnerty’s men capitalised in overtime to make maintain their 100 per cent record of winning after regulation time.
Craig Peacock, Joseph Hazeldine and Jacob Lundell Noer all scored for Manchester, while Scott Simmonds and Ciaran Long bagged their second goals in two games against the Blaze.
Whereas, Coventry’s Luke Ferrara, Sam Duggan, Tristan Keck and David Clements all beat Sean Bonar for the first time.
(Featured Picture: Mark Ferris).