Sheffield Steelers romped to a runaway 8-1 victory in their first home league game of the season last night.
Their fluent passing and smooth transition was a joy to watch at times and laid waste to Fife’s defence.
While the Scottish are a “No” vote as title contenders, Steelers appear so much more expressive and relaxed, generally, than this time last year.
Sheffield were without suspended Mark Thomas and Tyler Mosienko, as well as Pascal Morency, who was concussed in Cardiff a week ago.
Fife, who also had three missing at sell-out iceSheffield, went behind to a brilliant Sheffield team goal. Sharp passing interplay with Mike Forney set up Colton Fretter who drove top-shelf into the net at 2:37.
Forney’s first line showed real understanding, tormenting the Fife defence at every opportunity. While the defence loved to surge forward at any opportunity.
A slick counter-attack then saw Forney collect his own shot off the post and tickle it over the line for 2-0 at 10;09.
But Sheffield sometimes find it difficult to hold on to a lead and a deflected Power Play shot from Bobby Chaumont eluded home goalie Frank Doyle at 11;25.
The close scoreline flattered the visitors for whom Kevin Regan was performing miracles in goal. He earned a slice of fortune when luckless Rob Dowd’s effort hit the pipework.
However, Fife paid for a poor shift change, three Steelers attackers combining in acres of room to make it 3-1, through Fretter at 18;35.
Regan continued to have to fling himself all over his crease in the relentless pressure of the middle session and his side were completely over-run on a four-on-four play with Forney nonchalantly tapping in his second of the night on 31 minutes.
Steelers’ offensive movement was sweet to watch and at 36;07 it was five, with Phil Hill deflection from Dustin Kohn.
Devin Didiomete escaped a marker on the high slot to deliver Steelers’ sixth goal at 43;05.
A Power Play goal from Jay Latulippe made it 7-1 at 47;03 and then it got embarrassing with Gord Baldwin making it eight on a night to forget for those north of the border.
- Saturday’s 5-4 penalty shot win in Fife was perhaps an indicator of a roller-coaster season ahead.
After slipping behind (Josh Scoon) Steelers scored twice (Darrell Hay and Forney.)
Dowd made it 3-1 at 36;58 and that should have signalled a period of defensive conservatism.
Instead in a four minute spell, Chris Auger and Ned Lukacevic made it 3-3.
With three minutes remaining, Forney seemed to rectify the matter.
Yet defensive vulnerability returned. With nine seconds left Jordan Fulton took the game into overtime and ultimately penalty shots.
Hay underlined his importance to the team with the winner.
Sunday 14th September 2014
Dundee Stars 4 Hull Stingrays 5 (OT)
Sheffield Steelers 8 Fife Flyers 1
Challenge Cup Group A
Edinburgh Capitals 0 Braehead Clan 3
Challenge Cup Group B
Cardiff Devils 4 Coventry Blaze 3