Ice Hockey: Steelers close in on Cup final

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STEELERS have a healthy prospect of reaching the Challenge Cup final after winning the first leg semi at Braehead.

It is fair to say Sheffield have been under the weather since losing touch with the league leaders. But they perked up in cup action last night, virtually guranteeing a place in a two-legged final against Nottingham Panthers.

Steelers were probably the last team Clan had wanted to face in such a key game; they have put seven goals past them three times!

Steelers started the night as thought they were sulking from current League reverses, though.

Jordan Krestanovich, the centre Steelers want next season, scored after three minutes.

With Jason Hewitt in the box, Clan made it 2-0 at the start of the second session, Robert Farmer beating John DeCaro from the right flank.

The visitors, without injured Steve Goertzen who scored a hat-trick against the Scots a few weeks ago, needed inspiration. It came with two Power Play goals in three minutes. First Scott Champagne teed up Drew Fata, before Simon Ferguson equalised at 25;38. Champagne then engineered a chance for Tylor Michel to make it 3-2.

By the end of the session, Sheffield had fired 19 times on Braehead goalie Daren Machesney - his head must have been spinning, especially after a Ferguson effort hit his mask.

Steelers, who had Jim Jorgensen back from injury, held solid with DeCaro dealing calmly with the flow of Clan attacks.

Then at 56;09, Jeff Legue, who had scored four goals against Clan in the League, added Steelers’ killer fourth of the night.