Strong fightback in vain as Sting can’t extinguish Blaze

Sutton Sting's Most Valuable Player, Lewis Jones.
Sutton Sting's Most Valuable Player, Lewis Jones.

A spirited Sutton Sting U14s failed to douse the Blaze of Coventry after being unable to overturn a four-goal first period deficit in an eventual 4-2 defeat on Sunday afternoon at Ice Sheffield.

It was the second game in less than 24 hours for the Sting, who were beaten, 7-0, by Bradford on Saturday night.

A disappointing evening was summed up by an injury to defenceman Ryan Apsley, who suffered a broken arm, putting him out for six weeks - a big loss for the Sting’s U14 and U16 teams.

Apsley watched from the stands on Sunday as his team were hoping to get back to winning ways, but it was clear from the first drop of the puck that Coventry were looking to maintain their own charge up the Division One league table.

The Blaze were the stronger team from the start and, with 6.21 played Joe Deakin, took a minor two-minute penalty for roughing. Within a minute Louis Chabot opened the scoring for Coventry, which ignited a five-minute period of sustained pressure.

With 10.41 on the clock the Blaze doubled their lead through Dylan Patel and then two killer blows came within a minute as Nathan Scullion struck on 12.26 and Oliver Lord on 12.53.

At that point, Sutton were in disarray and the defence being outnumbered and forwards outskated.

Thankfully for them, they hit back quickly as, less than a minute later, Lewis Jones found the net, assisted by James Spencer.

That kick-started the Sting into life and the game became less one-sided, although Coventry possessed the greater threat going forward, outshooting the Sting almost two-to-one.

Trailing by three goals at the break, the second period started much brighter for Sutton, even if the Blaze net was proving difficult to find.

Life was made easy for the Coventry goalie who was largely untroubled by a number of off target Sting shots.

At the other end, the Sting’s defensive pairing of Ben Marples and Jack McCormick repeated their performances from the previous week and Nick Winters in goal was working hard to earn his shut-out. Their efforts were rewarded with just over four minutes left when Brady Doxey grabbed Sutton’s second goal, assisted by Lewis Jones.

The game exploded for the last few minutes, with Sutton pushing on hard, but the Blaze held firm to record a ninth win of the season.

After the game, Sting coach Gary Apsley said: “Our defence worked exceptionally hard again and were unlucky to end on the losing side.

“We did not put enough rubber on their net, and so did not create enough scoring chances, which was where the Blaze were most potent.

“But we are relative newcomers to D1 and we do not have the strength or depth of players enjoyed by the Blaze, so, for me, this was a good result for the Sting as we won the second period 1-0.”

Man of the Match for Sutton was Ben Marples, with the MVP going to Lewis Jones, who had one goal and one assist for two points.

The Sting remain in sixth place in the table, looking to finish the season with three wins from their last five games. Next up is Sheffield at the end of the month.