Match report: Sheffield Steelers 4 Edinburgh Capitals 5 (after pen shots)

Levi Nelson got the Steelers off the mark on a bad night against Edinburgh
Levi Nelson got the Steelers off the mark on a bad night against Edinburgh
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It was the night all-time Steelers favourite Ron Shudra’s appearance record of 626 games was broken.

Jason Hewitt, the British Bulldog, became the club’s longest-serving player.

So it was fitting that the 32-year-old, in his 11th Steeler season, was captain for the night.

But the script went horribly wrong for Hewy and his team with Sheffield 3-0 down inside nine minutes and playing their worst hockey of the year.

Defensively, it was a shambles, offensively it was confused at best and the game ended in penalty shot defeat.

Edinburgh, without suspended d-men Kyle Flemington and Kyle Bigos, had also seen their captain Everett Sheen walk out of the club a few hours earlier.

But the Scots caught Steelers cold with a dangerous shot from Jacob Johnston before taking the lead in the second minute.

Debutant Chris Lawrence had taken a disputed elbows minor and Hewitt’s penalty kill team couldn’t prevent Paul Zanette exploiting a gap at Tyler Plante’s near post.

Plante was then caught out by a sweeping shot from Ryan Hayes who was standing 15ft down the red line adjacent to the goal (06:15)

The canny Caps, who had won three out of their last five, then broke two-on-one, Craig McCallum burying the puck off Plante’s blocker.

It took a noticeably flat Steelers, without the injured Rob Dowd and Mike Duco, just 12 seconds to shake off the lethargy, Levi Nelson reducing the arrears.

But the second period saw the alarm bells ringing again. Taylor Dickin stripped the puck off Fredrik Vestberg and smashed it against Plante’s cross bar - moments after Ashley Calvert had slipped past Jace Coyle and threatened Plante’s goal.

Lawrence and then Jonathan Phillips, on a breakaway, couldn’t beat goalie Carsen Chubak. But then Colton Fretter succeeded where they failed with a smartly-taken wrist shot at 30:46. The quick, slick Caps showed no signs of relaxing their grip though, Hayes striking the post.

Steelers’ big-names, largely speaking, hadn’t turned up. But new boy Lawrence equalised at 41:13, from a Rod Sarich rebound.

However, Trevor Gerling waltzed around Coyle to convert Caps’ fourth (45:40), just when we thought the game had gone out of their reach.

With Vestberg replaced in favour of Tyler Mosienko on the first line, it was all getting a bit desperate.

But a neat reverse pass set up an equaliser for former Panther Lawrence at 4-4 (53:38) to send the game into overtime.

The game was decided on penalty shots - three misses by Sheffield, the winner coming from Caps’ Zanette.