Sheffield Steeldogs had their first weekend of games under new ownership but kept up the pattern of highs and lows that have become the norm this season.
The visit of the Bracknell Bees provided an exciting night’s entertainment for a bumper iceSheffield crowd.
A Tim Smith power play strike opened the scoring in a tense game with Stanislav Lascek’s persistence on the penalty kill putting them two up early in the second period.
Steeldogs then went through their now traditional middle period meltdown and let the Bees score three unanswered goals.
Things took a turn for the better in the final period with a Tom Squires power play strike levelling the score before a Lascek deflection put Sheffield back in front. Arnoldas Bosas added to his impressive haul for the season before Liam Charnock notched his first goal as a Steeldog.
At 6-3 up the game looked over but tempers frayed with just 2 minutes and 42 seconds left to play. Lewis Bell was ejected for spearing and then Callum Pattison went to have words with some of the Bees on the bench. Those words quickly turned to blows.
This left the Dogs playing two men short for the final 162 seconds but they hung on and with 8 seconds left Tim Smith scored in to the empty net to round off an exciting game with a 7-3 win for the Steeldogs.
Twenty four hours earlier and a flat looking Steeldogs were dismantled 5-0 by a Basingstoke Bison team on their way to the top of the EPL table.
Bison were rarely troubled by Sheffield and ex-Edinburgh Capitals net minder Hiadlovskyfinished the game with a shut out having only faced 13 shots. An improvement from away performances may be high on the new owners ‘to do list’.
Captain Ben Morgan, who spent the weekend coaching from the bench due to an injury, reflected on what he’d witnessed; “There a lot of positives to take from the Bracknell game. More players stepped up their performance, Liam Charnock was one of those and he got his first goal tonight. Defensively we were sound, although you have to say the Basingstoke forwards were a little more clinical than the Bracknell attack. For the four D men we had fit, this weekend was hard mentally and physically but they kept at it. For me the stand out performance tonight was Lewis Bell - an absolute rock”.
He also commented on Pattison’s fight with the Bracknell bench; “When you have Patto on your team, you don't want to rattle us, especially when we are on home ice.
"Bracknell seemed to want to play a friendly no hitter, that's their type of game. They are a counter-attacking team, they have a lot of firepower but in my opinion their defence is not exactly great. As soon as they started making bad hits, then we had someone on our team to get involved. When you read the match reports it's going to say ‘Patto versus bench and it's a narrow win for Pattison’! That's Patto, he stands up for the team”.