The first period started with Coventry on the attack and Debbie having the first save of the game at 3 minutes in. Despite Coventry pressuring, Nottingham managed to keep the game flowing end to end and Katie got Nottingham’s first shot at the other end. At 6:02 Coventry were rewarded with an unassisted goal by number 21. Nottingham kept working hard and were rewarded with a goal from Katie, assisted Julia at 10:01. With Debbie unsighted, Coventry took the lead with just 17 seconds left in the period.
The second period started with Nottingham on the attack from the off. Frenchie worked hard along the boards against her old team. Play was end to end with Vipers keeping the pressure on Coventry. Debbie was called into action covering the post, but the puck wasn’t cleared and against the run of play Coventry were lucky with the puck bouncing over Debbie’s pads at 23:27. Nottingham went on the attack again with Julia winning the puck back at centre ice. The pressure swung back and forth with Debbie stonewalling a one on one and then Wilko’s shot being stopped at the other end. Laura Q and Cookie worked hard forcing two quick saves from the Coventry netminder, however Nottingham’s hard work paid off with Frenchie scoring at 28:56 assisted Julia and Lucy. The period ended with Coventry 3 : 2 up.
Nottingham came out attacking at the beginning of the third; Kendra having a really good effort on goal only for possession to be lost and Coventry taking a quick long shot and scoring at 31:56. Vipers didn’t give up and kept the Coventry netminder busy but without reward. Kendra was working hard getting back to clear the puck and then straight away getting in on the action in front of net. Coventry had a breakaway shot which was saved but at 34:46 Debbie could not contain the Phoenix and they opened up their lead to 5 : 2. Two minutes later Nottingham were awarded a penalty shot which Katie bravely stepped up to take, but was denied by the Coventry keeper. Debbie was then called into play with two good saves in quick succession. Paige then went on a solo dispy doodle, got a shot away but again Coventry’s keeper was solid between the pipes. With about 3.5 minutes left the game became more physical and earnest with Nottingham trying to lessen the deficit and Coventry pressing for another. Nottingham iced the puck twice before Paige took a shot on the breakaway but being denied again by the keeper. Nottingham kept going right to the end with Wilko, Kendra and Cookie in the thick of it in front of the Coventry goal. The final buzzer came too soon with the game ending 5 : 2 to Coventry.
The end result did not reflect the standard of play by Nottingham in anyway. The Vipers were hard working, committed but unlucky again. The effort was there, but the killer instinct in front of goal needs to be honed. As the season continues the team will get stronger and more confident – I’m sure the results will soon go our way.
Player of the Game: Emma French