Steelers’ five-match winning streak unravelled in south Wales last night.
Just when it looked like Sheffield had turned the corner, they conceded three goals in less than four minutes and completely ran out of offensive ideas.
They had been taken apart in a 10-minute opening blitz by Cardiff and then shut out for the rest of the game.
It’s back to the drawing board for coach Gerad Adams, although his side remain in second place in the Elite division.
Brent Walton’s tip provided the opener and then Joey Martin slipped the puck through Josh Unice’s legs for 2-0 at 9;22. Less than a minute later Jake Morissette ignited more rapturous praise from the stands with a third.
A shell-shocked Adams ordered a time out to re-group at his old rink, where he’d won 6-0 on January 25.
But it could have been four, as Devils had a goal disallowed for high sticks.
Unice was overworked again in the middle 20, having to pull of a big glove save from Carl Hudson and weave his magic on 5-0n-3 penalty kill. Another Devils goal was washed out too.
Tyler Mosienko had a chance to bring one back on a breakaway but was foiled by Ben Bowns.
But the game was over when Martin pinged his second off the bar, at 45;03.
Devils had got their revenge, leaving Adams with plenty of fresh questions to answer.
Steelers 4-2 Nottingham Panthers (Sat)
Mathieu Roy ended a seven-game scoreless streak to bag two goals with victory over rivals Nottingham Panthers on Saturday.
Unice’s determination to challenge Frank Doyle for the netminder’s role was evident by his first period performance - he bailed his teammates out early on.
That was best illustrated when Cullen Eddy lost the puck centre ice. Jonathan Boxill broke away and his rebounded save fell to Chris Lawrence - which Unice got to brilliantly on the line. A penalty shot was awarded - and nerveless Unice saved that, too, from Boxhill.
Before then, Panthers had taken the lead, a quality finish from Greg Jacina.
But the scores were levelled when a neat passing move from Ben O’Connor and Colton Fretter set up an easy finish, for Jeff Legue.
Panthers’ penalty trouble saw Steelers take the lead, Roy doing what he does best, tipping over Craig Kowalski’s left shoulder at 19;51.
The lead lasted only till 22;17. Nottingham lulled Steelers to sleep with a passing routine at the back between Evan Mosey and Mike Berube, then surged up the ice, setting up a 2-2 goal for Chris Landry.
Panthers like to lure opposing forecheckers up the ice and then counter quickly and that tactic almost worked again when Mosey skated through the centre of Steelers’ defence.
However, Mike Forney’s strong wrist-shot hit the top shelf on a 5-on-3 power play to make it 3-2.
Undermanned Panthers were a tired team playing tired hockey in the third.
However they did have passages of play where they threatened: Rob Farmer and Brandon Benedict being denied. They were eventually put to bed when Roy got his second, an empty netter.
Notts boss Corey Nielson later admitted his indisciplined team “played a little bit stupid.”
Sunday 8th February
Cardiff Devils 4 Sheffield Steelers 0
Dundee Stars 3 Fife Flyers 0
Edinburgh Capitals 2 Coventry Blaze 1 (After Overtime)
Hull Stingrays 5 Nottingham Panthers 2