A DISASTROUS second period in which they let in five goals set Newcastle Vipers on course for a second defeat of the weekend.
The Vipers left the ice for the first break trailing by a single Coventry Blaze goal, scored by Luke Fulghum, at the start of the second period play Ross Venus put the Blaze further ahead.
Owen Fussey made it 3-0 on 27 minutes and then the puck was flying past the reach of netminder Charlie Effinger and into the net twice in under a minute, Greg Owen (31 minutes) and Dan Carlson’s (32 minutes).
Carlson then set up Owen for the Blaze’s fifth of the night and at the end of the period the only issue was whether the Vipers could avoid being shut out for the second successive night. Referee Dean Smith found fault with the Blaze four times in as many minutes during the early third period and the Vipers profited from their man advantages.
Mike Prpich struck his fifth goal and 11th point in eight games to make it 6-1 on 44 minutes and the next Vipers’ attack from the face off resulted in Dale Mahovsky getting a second unassisted goal just 15 seconds after the first.
Carlson was serving a tripping penalty when the Vipers scored a third, Dean Holland scoring only his second goal of the season on 49 minutes.
Effinger made 36 saves during the 60 minutes of play and in doing so prevented the Vipers from being on the receiving end of a real hiding. While the Vipers were competitive from start to finish against the Steelers it wasn’t obvious how they could equalise after going a goal behind after 44 minutes, defenceman Mark Thoms being successful with a close-range finish.
Defenceman Mark Thomas put the visitors ahead with a close range finish and an away win was secured in the 59th minute when Joe Talbot sent the puck across Effinger’s body and into the net.
The Steelers’ flattering third goal was an empty net strike by Neil Clark with just 18 seconds of the game remaining.
STEELERS: Clark 1+1, Thomas and Talbot 1+0, Johnson, Legue, Sarich and Simons 0+1.
BLAZE: Owen 2+1, Carlson,Fulghum and Fussey 1+1, Venus 1+0, Cowley 0+4, Zanon 0+2.
VIPERS: Holland, Mahovsky and Prpich 1+0, Forsbacka and Stewart 0+1.