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Blaze coach furious at officials

JF Perras (Mark Tredgold)
JF Perras had to deal with 51 shots at the Skydome

Coventry Blaze coach Paul Thompson was left fuming with match referee Michael Hicks following Sunday's 3-1 defeat by Sheffield Steelers.

Thompson was ejected from the game at the Skydome after throwing a stick on the ice in reaction to the visitors' third goal.

"A game ruined by an official. If my players are that bad they get sacked.

"It's poor and this is the part of the league that's poor," Thompson told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

The Blaze coach was disappointed Sheffield's second goal was not disallowed and felt that there was a penalty leading up to their third.

Former Coventry captain Ashley Tait gave Steelers an early lead on the powerplay before Jeff Legue doubled their advantage with an effort Thompson felt had not gone in.

Sylvain Deschatelets ensured Blaze only trailed by one goal going into the first break.

After a goalless second period, thanks to the performances of net-minders JF Perras and Jody Lehman, Ryan Finnerty restored the two-goal advantage for the visitors leaving Thompson aggrieved with what he thought had been a missed penalty on Erik Hjalmarrson.

Steelers are nine points clear of second-place Coventry and require two more wins to claim the Elite League title.

Thompson added: "The Steelers are going to go on and win the league and they're deserved champions. This isn't sour grapes whatsoever. They've been the best team all year.

"But if they've had officiating on their side like that all year you can see why."

To make matters worse for Blaze, defenceman Tommy Watkins broke his hand at the Skydome, although he should be back in time for the play-offs.

There was a crumb of comfort for Coventry at the weekend with Saturday's 6-2 victory away to Manchester Phoenix.

see also
NHL fixtures/results/standings
04 May 06 |  Ice Hockey
British ice hockey results
13 Oct 05 |  Ice Hockey

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