ICE HOCKEY: Finnerty aims to fill gap left by axing of Pecker

Ashley Tait Goal - Sheffield Steelers v Braehead Clan 7/10/12
Ashley Tait Goal - Sheffield Steelers v Braehead Clan 7/10/12
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Sheffield Steelers 7 Braehead Clan 3 (Sunday)

Cardiff Devils 2 Sheffield Steelers 1 (Saturday)

STEELERS are hoping to sign a new import forward after opening negotiations with two wingers with AHL pedigree.

Coach Ryan Finnerty talked to the pair, one of them 6ft 5ins, on either side of the weekend’s matches.

He wants to bring one of them to fill the vacancy created by his axing of Cory Pecker.

A filip would help the club, who lost on Saturday and gave away a 3-0 lead before winning last night.

Steelers went into Sunday night wanting to snap a three-game losing streak, which had followed a run of six victories.

Against a team tipped to challenge for the title, Sheffield made a scintillating first period start.

Drew Fata got the tempo going with a big hit on the boards.

Steve Goertzen, slow after a week-long illness, skated to the bench after belatedly clearing his lines to start a move in which Jeff Legue forced an error from Clan goalie Garrett Zemlak for 1-0 at 4;17.

A power play almost saw Clan back in it, with Jordan Krestanovich forcing a John DeCaro save.

Legue weaved his magic again seven minutes later.

It looked like he’d held on to the puck too long, but he was waiting to make a diagonal pass, which he did, Ashley Tait doing the rest for 2-0.

Jim Jorgensen hit a post before Tait spun round on a half-chance to add to his tally at 16;40 after a set-up play featuring defencemen Matt Stephenson and Rod Sarich. The Scots enjoyed more puck possession in the middle session.

Their first chance fell to Brock McPherson, but he skewed horribly wide.

Steelers’ defence in general, and Stephenson in particular, seemed comfortable enough.

Yet DeCaro’s unhappy habit of conceding near post returned to haunt him, Jade Galbraith shooting in from the right wing, for 3-1, at 30;13.

The gap was widened back to three goals with a delightful piece of skill from Jim Jorgensen, skating through the defence and tucking the puck past Zemlak, at 33;49.

But a puck off Fata’s skate sneaked over DeCaro’s line for 4-2 at 38;34, credited to Ryan Watt.

When Steelers concede you see confidence ebb away. So a big last period was needed.

With Tylor Michel carrying an injury from the night before, Sarich was drafted on the wing and he shot wide from a half-chance which would have calmed the nerves.

Instead, Galbraith took Danny Meyers to the cleaners, his side ‘scored’ but it was washed out as the net was off its moorings.

It was merely a respite. DeCaro took a tripping call and was then beaten near post by Krestanovich for 4-3.

Clan were dominating iceSheffield. But Shawn Limpright fed Colin Shields for Steelers’ fifth against the run of play.

An insurance goal came from Limpright with three minutes left.

Goertzen made the scoreline a flattering 7-3 with seconds left.

An inability of Steelers’ forwards to score saw the side slide from the League pinnacle on Saturday in South Wales.

Defenceman Stephenson was the man to score in the 2-1 loss at Cardiff, his 38th minute goal coming after power play goals from Phil Hill and Mac Faulkner put them two in front at 25.41.

Sheffield could not convert on six powerplay opportunities and 14-6 shots advantage in the third stage; Cardiff ‘keeper Phil Oaser making 36 saves.