The first of a home doubleheader weekend for the Storm was a tumultuous encounter between Manchester and Coventry Blaze saw the visitors comeback to win 4-3.
An evenly contested opening first ten minutes saw neither side fashion any notably scoring opportunities. It would take an excellent cross-zone pass by Hinam to find the open Tremblay to end the deadlock. A fantastic shift by fan favourite Ulett maintained the pressure infront of the Blaze net, as the power forward laid out two Coventry skaters with textbook checks.
This impressive work rate and forecheck was rewarded when Hinam trapped the puck behind the net and Critchlow skated around to complete a neat wrap-a-round play moments later. A well-timed shot through traffic by Tremblay extended the hosts advantage to three, in the 29th minute. At this point, the Storm faithful were sitting comfortably and enjoying watching proceedings with victory insight.
Until an offensive flurry by Coventry turned the game on its head. In the 34th minute, Spellacy was carrying too much speed into the zone for the trialing Storm defence to catch and his five-hole finish evidently lifted the Blaze bench. Two further goals, within 44 seconds of each other, squared the game. Tyler Kirkup won a puck battle in-front of the Storm crease and silkily lofted a backhand finish bar-down for Coventry’s second.
The ever impressive Kim Tallberg tied the game, after a costly defensive error allowed the Swedish forward to crash the net and bury the puck. The second intermission came at the perfect time for the Storm who skated into the changing rooms wondering how this game was tied. A tight checking final stanza saw neither side wanting to throw caution to the wind for the two points in regulation. However, a double minor penalty assessed against Ehrhardt presented the Blaze with a glorious match winning opportunity.
The hosts killed this penalty expertly but an exhausted special teams unit couldn’t clear the zone after the man advantage elapsed. As a result, a slapshot by Thompson from blueline evaded everyone on the ice and miraculously Coventry had their first lead of the game with under five minutes remaining. A late chance on the powerplay for the Storm slipped through their fingers as they were unable to force overtime.