Cardiff Devils 7 Sheffield Steelers 6 (Penalty shots,) (Sunday)
Sheffield Steelers 2 Cardfiff Devils 3 (Saturday)
WINNING the Elite League title can come down to fine margins.
So let’s hope Sheffield Steelers don’t look back on December 1 as the day those margins cost them.
Saturday saw goalies John DeCaro and Phil Osaer each face 30 shots.
The one that DeCaro couldn’t save in the 55th minute saw Devils move within two points of Sheffield.
Maybe it’s swings and roundabouts; Steelers have won games this season they’d no right to, conceded forward Shawn Limpright - who scored twice in last night’s dead-rubber Cup return in Cardiff.
“Saturday was frustrating as that was a game we should have won,” he said.
“Perhaps we have won a couple of games recently that we maybe didn’t deserve to, Saturday was the other way around.
“We created a lot but just couldn’t score.
“I don’t think there will be any panic, we have ample scorers and much experience.
“It’s just a feeling of frustration. Osaer played a hell of a game, we didn’t get a bounce and they get a bucket full of them.”
Steelers own bucket went to the well early and came back with two goals.
Ashley Tait had opened the scoring at 6.32.
They doubled advantage with a powerplay goal - their only such special team goal of the night in five attempts - at 10.22 from Drew Fata.
Coach Ryan Finnerty must have hoped he could take the two-goal gap into the dressing room, but Max Birbraer reduced it at 18.25.
Steelers’ confidence can be affected by conceding.
And although their depleted defence shut up shop in the middle period, the last session saw Mac Faulkner, the 14-season pro from King City, Ontario reign supreme; he scored twice to win the game.
Last night, in comparably meaningless Challenge Cup Group match, both teams went goal-bonkers.
Jeff Legue, Limpright, (two,) Fata and Jason Hewitt and Colin Shields notched for Steelers, while Ben Davies, Stuart MacRae, (three), Tyson Marsh and Phil Hill lit up the home lamp.
Steelers had gone ahead four times, but Devils scrapped their way back to overtime and penalty shots.
Chris Blight, Cardiff’s most creative player, scored the decisive shot.