Steelers will perhaps look back one day on this eventful weekend as a significant turning-point in their season.
After overcoming the trials and tribulations of their tiring Contintental Cup experience in Denmark, they returned to domestic action with a new forward, Coventry Blaze’s freshly-released marksman Luke Fulghum, who scored a vital goal at Hull last night.
And by the end of the same weekend, the Steelers had signed another player; French Canadian defenceman Francis Trudel.
The 28-year-old offensive bluer liner has played in Austria and Norway and comes in for the injured Rod Sarich.
This season, he has been icing for Saguenay Marquis in the ‘Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey,’ in Quebec.
And his addition to Steelers’ squad means they now carry 11 imports – so have the luxury of having one sitting out from now on.
In such economically difficult times, that is quite a statement of intent by Tony Smith.
The question looming now will be who will be in the stands for the home game against Belfast Giants on Friday?
It’s player coach Ryan Finnerty’s call.
Doubtless, he will be professional and decide solely on form and who he needs against specific opposition.
Or he may even choose the diplomatic option of not playing himself!
Last night, Finnerty’s team took on a third-from-bottom side that may have lost its last four games, but had also won in Cardiff.
They went behind after just 20 seconds when Jereme Tendler gave the visitors a rude awakening. New signing Fulghum - who faces his old club on Saturday - showed his worth with an equaliser five minutes later.
Finnerty tipped the game in Sheffield’s favour at 29;40 and the game looked like it was Steelers’ until five minutes from the end of normal time when Jason Sliverthorn had the home crowd in a fervour with the 2-2 equaliser. So, after a long week, it was down to a potentially gruelling overtime.
But Mike Ramsay nipped in and confirmed a four point weekend for Sheffield, as he slotted home just 24 seconds into the extra session to consilidate a fine winning weekend.
John DeCaro’s steely concentration guided Steelers to a Saturday night win over Cardiff Devils.
In all, he made 48 saves in a vibrant Arena match, but his final period performance killed off any chances of a dangerous Devils’ side drawing level.
Steve Birnstill got Sheffield off the mark at 16.05.
And it was 3-0 when Jeff Legue and Matt Stephenson added.
A routine win was never on the cards though as Devils pulled back a brace from Scott Matzka and Kenton Smith (Devils’ 800th away goal in Elite League competitions).
DeCaro came into his own with a string of late saves, the pick of them denying Jeff Pierce, while Devils will be annoyed that American centre Matzka wasted a clear chance. No such thing from Jeff Legue, who scored the home team’s insurance goal at 53;11.
Don’t miss a major feature on kidney-injury victim Rod Sarich, only in tomorrow’s Star.
Sarich talks about his current health issues...and his future.