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Game 7: Coventry Blaze V Manchester Storm
Both clubs are aiming to bounce-back from mid-week defeats but this encounter is by no means predictable, as when they met last in the opening game of the Elite Series, extra time was required.
Coventry may also be bolstered by the arrival of the 2019/2020 Elite League top scorer, Luke Ferrara, as the Englishman is set to join the squad before the weekend.
Friday 9 April, Face-off: 19:00
CB – 1-1-1
MS – 2-1-0
Tristan Keck – 4 points (2G, 2A)
Mike Hammond – 4 points (1G, 3A)
Nick Jermain – 3 points (1G, 2A)
Ciaran Long – 5 points (4G, 1A)
Scott Simmonds – 4 points (1G, 3A)
Cameron Critchlow – 3 points (0G, 3A)
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Coventry have so far relied upon Shane Owen in their first three games, up until when Jordan Hedley was subbed in for the final four minutes of their 7-2 loss to Sheffield on Wednesday, saving both shots he faced.
Although, with one win from three, Owen has made 96 saves on 107 shots, giving him a save percentage of 89.72 per cent and a goal against average (GAA) of 3.96.
Meanwhile in Manchester’s crease, Sean Bonar has a winning record of 2-1 and a GAA of 2.98, after conceding just nine goals from 87 shots, for a save percentage of 89.66 per cent.
The Storm were 2-0 up after two periods thanks to the current top goalscorer in the league, Ciaran Long and the second came via Scott Simmonds.
However, two third period strikes from Simen Andre Edvardsen and Mike Hammond drew the Blaze level late on and overtime would be required to find a winner.
Manchester’s Ben Lake provided that winner and it came just 46 seconds before the game would be forced into a shootout.
Game 8: Sheffield Steelers V Nottingham Panthers
The two English giants meet for another colossal clash and the first one of the series was a close affair.
Both clubs are still aiming to find consistency but while Sheffield hammered home seven goals in mid-week, the Panthers tightened up their back-end to secure their first win.
Nottingham are also expected to have forward, Brett Perlini available for the first time in the Elite Series this weekend.
Saturday 10 April, Face-off: 19:00
SS – 2-1-0
NP – 1-2-0
Liam Kirk – 6 points (4G, 2A)
Tanner Eberle – 6 points (3G, 3A)
Three Players – 4 points
Kevin Domingue – 3 points (2G, 1A)
Christophe Boivin – 3 points (1G, 2A)
Brendan Ellis – 3 points (0G, 3A)
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Since stepping in for the injured John Muse, British goaltender, Ben Churchfield holds a save percentage of 87.67 per cent after saving 64 of 73 shots on his goal, giving him a GAA of 3.75.
Nottingham have rotated netminders in every game so far and last time out, it was Ben Bowns who backstopped them to a first win.
The Englishman now has a single win and loss to his name this season and has a GAA of 2.03, the best of any goalie to play a full match and a stopping percentage of 93.10 per cent to match.
In the first derby, Sheffield edged out their bitter rivals 3-2 with their captain, Jonathan Phillips opening the scoring and the flood gates.
Within minutes, the leading point scorer in the Elite Series, Liam Kirk had doubled the lead before Kevin Domingue and Austin Cangelosi put the Panthers back on level terms.
Although, early in the final period, Kirk would net a second time to secure the points for his boyhood club.
Game 9: Nottingham Panthers V Coventry Blaze
The second meeting of the Panthers and the Blaze will be widely anticipated as both clubs need a big win early in the season to stay close to the top of the standings.
Sunday 11 April, Face-off: 14:00
Coventry stunned the Panthers by easing to a 3-1 victory and by scoring all three goals in the opening 20 minutes.
Keck, Nicolai Bryhnisveen and Sam Duggan all beat Jackson Whistle in the Panthers net before Domingue gave Tim Wallace’s side a glimmer of hope in the dying minutes of the match.
Game 10: Manchester Storm V Sheffield Steelers
The last match between these two sides has arguably been the best of the series so far, as both clubs went back and forth all afternoon and this next encounter is shaping up for a similar showdown.
Sunday 11 April, Face-off: 19:00
The Steelers were leading 2-1 after the first period, thanks to Josef Hrabal and Robert Dowd lighting the lamp but an early powerplay goal from Ciaran Long in the second stanza, tied things up as he bagged his brace.
The Storm then went two goals ahead through Ben Davies and Dallas Ehrhardt but Kirk pegged Manchester back to a one-goal lead, heading into the third session.
Sondre Olden drew Sheffield level, however Maxime Fortier would score in the final minute of regulation to seal both points for the Storm.