Hull Stingrays: Greg Blais 'happy' for Ben Bowns to be number one, despite impressing in Coventry games
MATCH-WINNER Greg Blais insists he "knows his place" at Hull Stingrays.
Deputising for Ben Bowns, on duty with Great Britain, debuting Blais was man of the match in Stingrays' 4-2 victory over Coventry on Saturday.
And he impressed again last night, despite Stingrays going down 2-1 to Coventry at the Skydome.
Despite having not played a match since last February, Blais, 32, pulled off a series of breathtaking saves.
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However, the Canadian-born keeper is adamant he is not eyeing up Bowns' starting role at Rapid Solicitors Stingrays, instead content to return to his mentor role.
He said: "Even if I had had two shut-outs this weekend, I know my role.
"I came here to help Ben improve as a goalie, I'm not here to take games off him.
"He's the number one and that's the way it's going to be.
"I'm honoured to be part of the team and any games I get I am happy to play them, but I enjoy watching Ben play as he's a good goalie and he has won some good games for us this year."
With GB now through to the Winter Olympics final qualifying stage, Stingrays are likely to lose Bowns again in February.
On Saturday, terrific individual skill from Janis Ozolins and Jereme Tendler put Stingrays 2-0 ahead before two sizzling strikes from NHLer Matt Beleskey drew Blaze level by the end of the second period.
However, two Dominic Osman powerplay efforts gave Stingrays victory in a fractious, albeit academic, Challenge Cup clash.
In last night's Elite League clash, Sam Smith put Coventry ahead after just two minutes, prompting a major dust-up between enforcers Ryan Hand and Benn Olson.
Shea Guthrie added Blaze's second four minutes later.
Osman pulled a goal back for Stingrays on the powerplay in the 28th minute when Guthrie was penalised for holding his opponent's stick.
Despite Blais' heroics over the weekend, Stingrays' coach Sylvain Cloutier confirmed Bowns will be back in the starting role in Fife tomorrow – if he feels fit enough after returning from Japan today.
Blais, though, is set to remain as the back-up keeper, as Canadian Cale Tanaka is still recovering from his shoulder injury.
"Greg did a great job for us over the weekend. He made some great saves, and all the guys had every confidence in him," said Cloutier. "We knew he was experienced, I did my homework on him.
"However, Ben is our number one goalie and I am planning that he'll play tomorrow in Fife.
"Greg did a great job, but for him to play three games in four nights when he hasn't played all season is a big ask."
Cloutier also confirmed Andy Brummitt, who was dressed as back-up keeper to Blais this weekend, has signed for Stingrays on a two-way deal with Chelmsford.