Sheffield Steeldogs had a weekend that went from disappointment to triumph as they ended up beating big spending Guildford 5-2 in their own barn.
Twenty four hours earlier they suffered a 3-2 loss at iceSheffield in a tight, tense game against Basingstoke Bison.
Steeldogs scored the opening goal in just 25 seconds as Arnoldas Bosas added to his impressive haul for the season. However a Bison power play goal brought them level as the period ended. The middle session saw another scoring exchange with Greener putting the Bison ahead before the ever reliable Lubomir Korhon tied the game.
A defensive slip allowed Bison captain Connolly to put Doug Sheppard’s side back in front and with Steeldogs skipper Ben Morgan limping off, the challenge was made harder. Despite their best efforts they couldn’t find the equaliser.
After that defeat and a long bus trip to Surrey, a team minus its captain (and Ashley Calvert) looked in for a long night – but they hadn’t read the script. They matched the Flames early on and when 17 year old Cole Shudra scored his first ever EPL goal in the 23rd minute, it put Sheffield in front.
The home side levelled it at 2-2 but Korhon’s second of the night just before the half way mark restored Greg Wood’s side lead and they didn’t let Guildford back in. Shudra Junior extended the lead early in the final session before Bosas book-ended the weekend’s scoring with Steeldogs 5th. A much deserved win on the road for a team who have worked hard to play a more complete game this season. Morale will be high ahead of Saturday night’s visit from the Hull Pirates (7.30 at iceSheffield).
Injured Captain Ben Morgan said: “Against Guildford, we were defensively sound and since the demolition by Swindon a couple of weeks ago, that’s what we have been focussing on. We are always going to get scoring chances and with people like Woody and Stano coming back into the team, we've been able to get a little bit of line chemistry going again.
“We stuck to our defensive basics and everyone contributed; Duncombe is coming back to play regular shifts after his injury and getting more like the player he has been for the last 10 years, Bell is in magnificent form, having a fantastic start to the season – he's really composed on the puck. Haywood has had a few games under his belt and his fitness is coming back and Tim Smith? Well he’s just Tim Smith!
“Dalibor (Sedlar) said in the changing room that this was the best defensive display for a long time, they worked hard and protected him. Everyone chipped in defensively, not just the D, but the whole way through the team. We weren't chasing the game in our zone, despite Guildford being an extremely offensive side.
“Cole Shudra was fantastic tonight, he's taken his first EPL goal scoring puck home – he's delighted with it! He played very much a defensive position, always the high guy when the puck was in the Flames end. He allowed Woody and Charnock to get into corners and create chances and he's taken his two goals brilliantly tonight.
“Now we look forward to taking on Hull on Saturday as we have a massive rivalry with them. You have two teams were there are relationships of people we have played with in the past or who were going to play for us. It's a chance for us to say we are a decent team who are moving in the right direction and whatever has gone on or been said before, this is how we are playing now, this is the direction we want to go in. We want to stick as many goals past them as possible regardless of friends on that team. It will be a cracking game and we can’t wait!”