COVENTRY, UK – Genting Casino Coventry Blaze sealed their place in the Rapid Solicitors Elite League play-offs following a 1-0 overtime victory over Cardiff Devils at a sold out Skydome.
With a point already enough to clinch a top-eight slot after a goalless 60 minutes, Michael Henrich netted the winner 2.32 into the added five minutes on the powerplay with Matt Myers having picked up a match penalty.
Blaze forward Shea Guthrie was carried from the ice on a stretcher after receiving a cross-check to the head from Myers and taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Goaltender Mike Zacharias posted a 33-shot shut-out – his second of the season – in a man of the match display.
Blaze will now meet Sheffield Steelers in the play-off quarter-finals, with the home leg at the Skydome next Saturday and the return in South Yorkshire on April 1.
Coach Marc LeFebvre said: “We knew to make the play-offs there was slim margin for error.
“I think we have played two solid games this weekend but tonight we beared down and found a way to win.
“It was a see-saw battle, both sides had chances but the two goalies were excellent.
“It was a great atmosphere, the crowd were going nuts in the warm-up! Cardiff brought a good crowd too, we had great support from the fans and we could not have asked for more.
“We don’t know how Shea is just yet. It was a bad hit and he has gone to the hospital to get checked out as a precaution.”
Captain Ashley Tait marked his 600th appearance in all Elite League competitions with an assist on the winning goal, moving two away from 400 assists.