Coventry Blaze 0
Sheffield Steelers 2
Dundee Stars 5
Steelers completed a four point weekend with a tenacious 2-0 win in Coventry.
John DeCaro had a 38 shot shut-out as Ryan Finnerty’s men put the shutters down on the home side.
Steelers had to endure early pressure; for much of the first period, Coventry’s forecheck was pinning Sheffield back. Luke Fulghum forced a double save from DeCaro before Bryan Jurynec and Colt King traded blows.
Greg Owen went through on the Steelers net, before Ashley Tait had a chance for Sheffield after collecting a turnover.
Jurynec walloped a shot at DeCaro as the second period started in the same vein, but then the tables turned as Sheffield turned defence into attack and Jason Hewitt scored with a good shot. The momentum turned and Steelers were able to shut down the Blaze attack.
They could have increased their lead on a powerplay as the puck fell to Tait close to the goal, but he was unable to get the shot away.
As the game wore on, so the home crowd’s patience wore thin and Coventry struggled to create chances.
Jeff Legue got a tip on a pass, which was saved, but moments later Steelers went two up when Legue got on the end of a good move that sucked the home defence out of position. His back post tap in was an easy goal, but necessary as Sheffield soon found themselves killing almost two minutes of a five on three penalty kill.
They managed to frustrate Blaze for much of their powerplay, with only two shots from Owen Fussey at the end as the clock ran down.
Steve Birnstill hit the metalwork for Sheffield, while Coventry continued to scrap, with Mike McLean and Russ Cowley coming close.
DeCaro’s recent description of Steelers being a “defensive” team may have been redefined in his mind after being outshot in a topsy turvy win over Dundee on Saturday. The goalie faced 32 shots as Sheffield’s rearguard occasionally went missing. Steelers were suspect early on, going 3-1 down at the first break. Jeff Hutchins put the Jocks ahead at 5.29.
New signing RG Flath levelled but a brace from John Dolan stunned the home crowd. The second session saw Sheffield close the gap to 3-4 with Rod Sarich and Flath scoring while Chris Zarb executed for the Stars. The under-strength visitors ran out of steam losing the last session 5-1.
Strikes from Lee Esders and Colt King put Steelers ahead for the first time. And there were more goals from Sarich, Ryan Finnerty and King, with a reply from Brent Hughes.