Reflecting on last nights Coventry Blaze victory against Sheffield.
Lots of words from the Sheffield camp regarding being mugged, and finger pointing to the mythical shot count scoreboard in the Sky (Dome!). You know that shot count board that decides the game. It doesn’t matter how many go in. The same shot count board that establishes if you win the league or make it to Play off Final weekend; after all, its the number of shots that win you the game – isn’t it?
Of course it isn’t.
Shots are a fair reflection of the game, in football you would use a possession stat to prove this point. I concede to that. But speak to any football manager about that possession statistic and they will tell you, its one of the biggest nuances in the game when it comes to trying to equate it with winning a game.
Go to Leicester City and ask the “Tinkerman” how his side are top of the Premier League when they consistently, give up possession, and are content without it. They are happy without it. Sometimes they don’t even want it! I digress, this is hockey.
The big surprise from last night for me, is the shock from Sheffield that they had so many shots and failed to win a game of hockey. Its well known Blaze don’t take a lot of shots, but also well known we are happy enough taking less than 30 shots and still remain confident about winning a game of hockey.
Defensively, on our night, there isn’t a better side in the Elite League. Yes, Stewart is a superb netminder and he gives us a chance to win. But if you are a coach without one of these types in your net, you have been unlucky with injury (Paul Thompson) or you have recruited badly (No need to fill in this bracket is there?)
Any netminder can stand on his head and shut a team out. Holt in Braehead, as average as he has been, has been our nemesis this season and done it to us. Bowns, Murphy, Wiikman, Brown the list goes on of netminders who can shut teams out on any given night.
Pointing at Stewart and moaning he is too good is scraping the barrel a bit. There is no hiding we can and do ‘ride the guy’ (tip of that hat to Paul Wheeler, I accept that point now) at times, but let me show you Ross Venus’s legs and you will see it wasn’t just big Brian stopping the shots that won us that game last night. Michael Quesnele came off the ice last night and looked like he had ran three marathons with a heavy back back on. Jordan Pietrus, would skate through a wall if he had to for Brian Stewart.
‘Stewie’ is our last chance saloon, yes, but there are plenty of guys in his bar ready to put their pints down, stick their chests out and defend that same bar.
Was it really such a surprise last night?
Play off Final – Blaze beat Steelers
Shots on goal – Coventry 20 Sheffield 37 (35%)
Play off Semi Final – Blaze beat Giants
Shots on goal – Coventry 29 Belfast 41 (41%)
Play off Quarter Final in Nottingham
Shots on goal – Coventry 28 Nottingham 47 (37%)
Play off Quarter Final in Coventry
Shots on goal Coventry 36 Nottingham 42 (46%)
The only other two times last season we beat Sheffield last season?
March 1st – Blaze 36 Steelers 42 (46%)
November 29th (Under Goertzen) Coventry 29 Sheffield 54 (34%)
A team doesn’t need to just take the most amount of shots to earn the right to win a game of hockey. It needs hard work, endeavour and guts before anything else. Thank God, or maybe thank Weber.
(Picture credits: Scott Wiggins)