Stingrays stun Blaze but for little reward

HULL STINGRAYS powered to an impressive 5-1 victory at 2010 Elite League champions Coventry Blaze last night but, in effect, it mattered little.

The more important meeting between the two teams came in the league in Hull on Saturday night when Coventry hung on for a 3-1 victory.

Last night's tussle at the Skydome Arena was in the Challenge Cup, a competition Stingrays had already been eliminated from having not won any of their first five Group B games.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Last night, in-form Jereme Tendler strengthened his position as the club's leading scorer, bagging two goals in reply to Brad Cruikshank's second-minute opener for Coventry.

Tendler's second – at 42.30 – gave Hull the lead and further third-period strikes followed from Kriss Grundmanis, Andrew Coburn and Matti Uusivirta sealed a morale-boosting win.

It was Tendler who got home fans' pulses racing on Saturday when he struck a short-handed goal after just 55 seconds to give Stingrays' 'owners' an early wake-up call.

Coach Paul Thompson – part of the Blaze management team which stepped in to save Hull in August – then saw his side go ahead by the end of the first period through goals from Greg Chambers, Luke Fulghum and Owen Fussey, a margin which proved enough on the night.

HULL'S Latvian defenceman Kriss Grundmanis became the first casualty of player-coach Sylvain Cloutier's threatened roster shake-up after being released on Monday.

The 21-year-old joined in the summer from Dinamo Riga where he helped his hometown club secure the Latvian Championship last season.

Last week's 9-4 league defeat at bottom club Dundee Stars saw the ownership promise changes after they found performances and results "unacceptable."

Cloutier said Grundmanis had potential but his performacnes had made it clear he wasn't ready to comepte at Elite League level just yet.

"Kriss has a lot of potential but he needs to get regular ice time and that is something he wasn't going to get here," said Cloutier.

Stingrays - who missed out on the signing of Slovakian defenceman Martin Ondrej after he chose to play in Italy - are next in action on Wednesday night against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Steelers.

Steelers – without a game on Sunday – kept in touch with their title rivals after coming from 2-0 behind to win at Braehead Clan on Saturday.

Joey Talbot (2), Robert Dowd, Rob Globke and Neil Clark were on target for Ben Simon's team.

IN THE Englaish Premier League, Sheffield Steeldogs slipped into the bottom two after another disappointing weekend.

A trip to 2010 league champions Milton Keynes Lightning proved fruitless as they were beaten 7-2.

Back on home ice against Slough Jets on Sunday night, Matt Darlow's team lost 3-1 on the back of a much-improved showing against opponents that had thrashed them 8-1 in berkshire the previous weekend, eventually