Steelers strolled into a Challenge Cup semi-final showdown with Nottingham Panthers after a merciless 11-1 win over Dundee Stars, last night (14-1 on aggregate)
They played the no-frills, direct hockey that coach Gerad Adams had been demanding following some dodgy results over the past few weeks.
The forward lines were relentless - and too quick and varied for a short-benched side to cope with.
Michael Forney was the star with four goals.
Steelers had carried over a 3-0 advantage from the first leg last week; Jeff Legue, Ben O’Connor and Gord Baldwin having scored the goals that made last night’s second leg seem a formality.
They were without two-defencemen Dustin Kohn (knee) and Cullen Eddy, who was a surprise omission with a concussion.
Dundee are not the same team without absentees Martin Cingel and Shane Lust, but they still managed to beat Belfast Giants and Edinburgh Capitals last weekend.
But their sparse resources were overwhelmed by a home side with four lines at its disposal.
Defenceman Darrell Hay started the onslaught, his wrist shot from the blue line seemed to get deflected by a Scottish player and past Marc Cheverie at 3;48.
Mark Thomas followed suit with a similar strike and Sheffield suddenly were the team we remembered from earlier in the season - focused, pucks in deep and with a nice turn in speed.
Stars’ captain Chris Blight had a shoot-on-sight policy, but it was hit and hope, and Sheffield eased into overdrive with a third goal at 18;52, with Mathieu Roy delivering a chance for Michael Forney.
Rob Dowd started the second period with a fourth goal of the night after neat interplay with Tyler Mosienko.
Strangely, Stars disrupted the rhythm by scoring through Ryan Grimshaw - nobody had seen that coming.
But it was a blip, only, and on the next attack Dowd added another, signalling the end of Cheverie.
He was substituted in favour of 21-year-old back-up netminder Craig Holland, who conceded straight away, a low shot from Forney making it 6-1.
Forney didn’t celebrate the goal - it had got to the stage where Stars were a badly wounded animal that needed to be humanely put down.
The last session was something of an embarrassment.
You got the feeling Steelers did not want to disrespect Dundee by running the scores up. Yet Forney sealed his hat-trick. And then he Gord Baldwin and Phil Hill all netted in a one-minute burst.
The action finished with a goal from two-way player Nick Ferrara.
The score was a throw back to the 1990s - and isn’t what Elite League hockey is all about these days.
But after a grim series of results - who is complaining?
# Steelers host Belfast Giants on Saturday before making a league visit to Dundee Ice Arena the day after.
Wednesday 14th January 2015
Challenge Cup Quarter Final 1st leg
Coventry Blaze 1 Braehead Clan 3
Challenge Cup Quarter Final 2nd leg
Cardiff Devils 4 Belfast Giants 2
Cardiff win 8-5 on aggregate
Sheffield Steelers 11 Dundee Stars 1
Sheffield win 14-1 on aggregate
Friday 16th January 2015
Nottingham Panthers v Coventry Blaze – 7.30pm
Saturday 17th January 2015
Braehead Clan v Dundee Stars – 7.00pm
Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers – 7.00pm
Fife Flyers v Hull Stingrays – 7.15pm
Sheffield Steelers v Belfast Giants – 7.00pm
Sunday 18th January 2015
Coventry Blaze v Cardiff Devils – 5.15pm
Dundee Stars v Sheffield Steelers – 6.30pm
Edinburgh Capitals v Belfast Giants – 5.45pm
Hull Stingrays v Fife Flyers – 6.00pm