Sheffield Steeldogs celebrated the return of a fan favourite with a three point weekend.
The EPL side beat Manchester Phoenix 7-1 after gallantly falling to Guildford Flames 3-2 (penalty shots.)
The club announced on Friday that they had re-signed 31 year old Slovakian forward Stanislav Lascek following his dismissal by the Hull Pirates.
‘Stano’ received a huge ovation before the game against Manchester, showing his spell in Hull had done nothing to reduce his popularity amongst the Steeldogs fan base.
The visiting Phoenix showed lots of spirit but with no imports and featuring a number of players from the Sutton Sting helping to make up the numbers, the result should have been a relative formality. However Gareth O’Flaherty had a great chance to put them in front but Brandon Stones made a great stop to deny him on a breakaway.
Arnoldas Bosas eventually opened the scoring and markers from Liam Kirk, Adrian Palak and another from Bosas ended any doubt even if ex-Steeldog Lloyd Gibson spoiled Stones’ shut out in the last minute of the second period.
Stephen Fone faced 72 shots and was beaten by Cole Shudra, Cam Brownley and Lewis Bell as the Dogs wrapped up a 7-1 win.
The Steeldogs owners donated 100% of the ticket money from Manchester fans to the teams Supporters Club, to help the Phoenix who are fighting to keep going in the EPL.
Coach Greg Wood said: “Those types of games are not the easiest types of games to play. There wasn’t a lot of tempo, they are a much weakened team but you can only play what is put in front of you. It was a professional job with scoring right throughout the team, all lines on the score sheet. We created 72 shots on goal which is an awful lot and shows a lot of promise. We also developed some line chemistry in the game.
“Whoever the Phoenix put out they are always going to be competitive, they have good Brits and the players they brought in are going to skate and compete. Quality always comes out in the end but they worked hard and it wasn’t an easy game by any stretch of the imagination.
“Stano got three assists in his first game back, he was the best player on the ice and was very creative. He is smooth on the puck, he is calm and he will make our special teams much better. After a week playing together you can signs that his line will do some damage”.
After the long trip to Guildford on Saturday, the Steeldogs came out looking fresh and had the better of the early exchanges, out shooting the Flames.
They got the breakthrough at 25:53 when Lascek beat Skinns and five minutes later some super skating by Liam Kirk made it 2-0 on a power play.
The Steeldogs were in charge and early in the final period Cole Shudra put the puck in the net but the referee didn’t award the goal. A Shudra penalty followed soon after and Eriksson scored on the power play and brought the home team to life. It took them until the final five minutes to equalise and in the closing minutes James Hadfield was kept busy by his old team – but he held on to send the game in to over time.
The extra period of three on three was frantic but despite chances neither team could score and the game was decided on penalty shots. Kirk and Lascek both scored but unusually Bosas didn’t and the Steeldogs lost out as the Flames scored with all three shots.
Next up for the Steeldogs, a rare single game weekend with the MK Lightning visiting iceSheffield on Sunday (5:30 face-off).