Steeldogs took maximum points from their two games – beating Manchester Phoenix 4-1 and securing a 5-4 penalty shot victory at Peterborough Phantoms.
Sunday's visit to bogey side the Peterborough started badly; Levers scored after just 48 seconds and Padelek added a second within a minute. And if that wasn't bad enough, by 4.26 the Steeldogs were 4-0 down!
Greg Wood resisted any temptation to bench netminder Hadfield. A Liam Kirk goal at 5.50 stopped the flow and gave the Dogs hope and energy. Andy Hirst grabbed a second to send the Dogs in two behind.
The middle session was a tight and goalless; both teams only managing seven each shots.
The game came back to life early in the third when Sheffield born Phantom James Archer was ejected for a check to the head that left Tim Smith bleeding.
After much effort, late on in the five minute advantage, Cole Shudra found the net.
That left Sheffield with around 15 minutes to find an equaliser and Bosas did that in the final 3 minutes. There were even chances for them to win it in the closing seconds but the game went to overtime.
The extra five minutes couldn't separate the teams so the game went to penalty shots.
Kirk and Shudra both scored and although Bosas was stopped, Hadfield was only beaten by Padelek giving Sheffield the win. Hadfield coming up big after a nightmare start to the game to complete a good birthday week for the net minder.
Player/Coach Greg Wood was pleased with his team’s efforts saying: “The boys have dug in deep this weekend. We knew they’d both be tough games, so I’m pleased with the results. Inside five minutes we were four down, we were moments away from taking James out of the game but we stuck with him. I knew he would play his way back into the game and backed him to do the job.
“I didn't need to say anything in particular to get the boys to raise their heads and get back in the game. Everyone is here to win and they know what they have to do to make sure that we are winners. We stuck to our plays and worked our way back. We are still playing short benched and when three of your most talented forwards are not available, it means the British boys have to step up and they have really taken their opportunities and put in strong performances”.
Saturday night’s game with Manchester had its fair share of incidents. The first period was scoreless as both netminders dealt with everything fired at them. Fone in the Manchester goal was busier and did well to keep his team in it.
When the teams returned, Sheffield were missing Pavel Mrna who picked up a mystery match penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. That gave Manchester a 5 minute power play during which Arnoldas Bosas managed to break out and was awarded a penalty shot; unusually the Lithuanian was stopped by Fone.
The major talking point of the night came at 23.45 when Kovar scored to put the visitors in front. However in the act of shooting, his stick hit Lewis Bell in the face leaving him down and injured. After a lengthy stoppage, referee Hogarth gave Kovar a Match penalty for high sticks and the goal was scrubbed off.
Kirk broke the deadlock at 29.57 only for Malinik to level. Late in the period Liam Charnock scored his first of the season and from there the Steeldogs took control. Bosas and Kirk completed the scoring to give Sheffield the win 4-1.
Steeldogs captain Ben Morgan spoke after the game where his 500 appearances for the club were celebrated; “It's always an interesting game with Manchester. They may be short benched but they have two lines filled with quality. We had some good performances tonight; Charnock stood out for me, making plays and taking hits, working hard in the corners and Calvert really stepped up to the plate.
“Our defence is going from strength to strength, I've managed a few shifts with different people during the game tonight. Time will tell how solid we will be, it's difficult when you don't have the full team in front. We have had a lot of pressure over the past few weeks. Jimmy (James Hadfield) keeps standing on his head. I'm gutted we didn't get a shut out for him, we really want to get one for him.
“It was really nice to get the ovation that I did for my 500 games, it was fitting it was against Manchester as I had a really good year there and won a championship - and very nice to receive applause from their fans. I'd just like to say thanks to our fans for the ovation and messages this week, it means a lot”.
Steeldogs will look to extend their winning run when the Telford Tigers visit iceSheffield on Saturday (7.30 face-off).