Metros 2 - 3 Coventry Blaze
This was the final game of the season for both teams. Having recently escaped from the drop danger zone Coventry was very keen to continue their revival and get both points to squeak over Sheffield Spartans into sixth place. The Mets, however, were aware that whilst they had won the first encounter of the season, the Blaze had won both games in Coventry and wanted to even things up. Injuries and prior engagements meant that several senior players were missing from the line-up. Also, the influential Sean Day was making his debut with the Phoenix at Swindon, consequently coaches Bayliss and Cassidy were forced ring yet another set of changes to the offensive lines.
The first period was end to end stuff with Coventry going ahead at 3.14 with a point shot from Papps being tipped down and between Tom McDonald's legs from close in by Gillatt. Trafford pushed for the equaliser which came, six minutes later, from a delightful tic-tac-toe passing move across the Blaze' net between Sheldon Cassidy and Dan Etherington ending with Metros Man of the Match, Tom Gilbert, sliding the puck home from the right of the net. Both teams continued to search for the go-ahead goal but the defences held on to the end of the period.
The second period continued in the same manner as the first. As this was the final game of the season, just following the half-way point Trafford changed goalies, McDonald making way for Dave Clancy. A couple of minutes later the Mets' Jared Dickinson picked up a loose puck between the Blaze' face-off circles and wristed a pin-pointedly accurate shot, through a crowd, into the top right corner of the net. In classic manner Coventry replied within a minute to get back to even terms just eight seconds into an interference power-play: Gillat scoring his second of the game with assists to Pollock and Owen. The Metros were pushing for the go-ahead goal to the close of the period: Tom McDonald, in his 10.04 of the period, had faced 11 shots; Dave Clancy, in his 9.54, had faced just two shots.
The third period began to show more fire causing a few minor penalties to be called. Just short of 48 minutes with the Blaze on the attack in the Metros' end, the referee's arm went up. Dave Clancy clearly thought that this was for goalie interference and turned to the referee to claim the power-play. As there had been no whistle Coventry continued playing with Papps scoring into the, effectively, empty net. The old tenet of playing until the whistle is true even for the most experienced of players. This proved to be the game-winner and Coventry, despite desperate pressure for the Metros, who even pulled Clancy with fifteen seconds left, achieved sixth place in a highly entertaining game for what could have been a match which dwindled to nothing as an end of the season affair.
This is likely to be Dave Clancy's swan-song in a Metros shirt. Travelling from Connah's Quay has proved time-consuming and expensive. The team is very grateful to Dave for the time he has been with the Metros. His expertise has been really great for the young defence on the ice and his being an all round good-egg in the room has been good for everyone. If this was good-bye: Thanks Dave. We all hope to see you on the ice in the near future.
Postscript: As most Phoenix fans will be aware, Sean Day scored for the Phoenix in his debut at Swindon. This was announced during the Mets' game raising a loud cheer from the home support.
Metros stats: Jared Dickinson 1 + 0, Tom Gilbert 1 + 0, Sheldon Cassidy 0 + 1, Dan Etherington 0 + 1.
Nets: Tom McDonald: (30.04mins) 11 + 11: 22/1 (95.45%). Dave Clancy (29.41mins) 2 + 10: 12/2 (83.33%)