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Ice Hockey: It's all or nothing as Blaze head out; ICE HOCKEY: Play-off battle.

Byline: By Jo Cottingham

THOMSONFLY Coventry Blaze hop across the Irish Sea today to complete their play off programme in Belfast, knowing that nothing less than a win will do if they are to make the final four.

Blaze left themselves a chance of qualification to Nottingham by beating the Edinburgh Capitals 10-2 on Wednesday night and having enjoyed relative success against the league champions this season, including a win at the Odyssey in February, will be eager to impress once again.

Giants are suffering their own injury woes, and along with the Blaze are short of bodies, defenceman and former Coventry player, Steve O'Brien being the latest to hit the injury list. Despite enquiring, player coach, Ed Courtenay has not been granted special dispensation to replace the American.

Despite a shaky start and being beaten twice by the Cardiff Devils, Coventry have recovered with wins over Edinburgh but even victory in Northern Ireland tonight will not guarantee them a spot.

Belfast's status will not be decided until tomorrow when they play Edinburgh, after a 2-1 win against the Cardiff Devils on Wednesday kept them in the running.

"We have got to beat Belfast tonight or it is all over, said head coach Paul Thompson. "If we can get a two-goal or three-goal win over there it means that they will have to get nine past Edinburgh.

"I just hope Tony and his team turn up in Belfast on Saturday and give a committed performance because this stupid rule could see us out of it.

"We could be going out of the play offs by beating Belfast because teams have got nothing to play for.

"I hate the fact that it will be taken out of our hands if we both finish on the same points.

"If we don't win tonight then we don't deserve to go through but if we win it will be in the lap of the gods.

"We are more than capable of winning over there, we know that, we have done it before."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 31, 2006
Words:338
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