Sheffield Steelers step up to Challenge with wins over Cardiff and Coventry

Fredrik Vestberg - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

Fredrik Vestberg - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

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Steelers look certs to progress into the knock out stages of the Challenge Cup after two explosive weekend wins.

Twenty four hours after dismissing Coventry Blaze 4-0 at the Skydome, they humiliated Cardiff Devils 8-1 at home.

That’s some achievement.

Paul Thompson’s team is rapid, well-drilled...and not one player is giving less than 100 per cent.

The new imports have all slipped into their roles and if this side can avoid injuries, the fans will be confident of some silverware this campaign.

There was scoring from most lines over the weekend and the side seemed unflustered on the rare occasions they were subjected to pressure.

Tyler Mosienko - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

Tyler Mosienko - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

Cardiff had beaten them on their own ice on the previous weekend - but they were tortured for 60 minutes last night.

Tyler Plante kept Cardiff at bay when Devils had two breakaways and a Leigh Salters penalty shot in the opening sequence.

The goalie started a move by repelling the puck and Mathieu Roy scored on a lightning counter (1;08.)

From that moment on, Sheffield were all energy and speed in transition - Cardiff simply couldn’t cope.

Levi Nelson - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

Levi Nelson - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

A left point shot through traffic sailed low under Ben Bowns 11 minutes later and then, just 22 seconds after that, Jeff Legue despatched his own rebound.

With Salters losing his temper and the plot, Levi Nelson fired home a fourth, ending a torrid period for the Welsh.

Plante, who had assisted on the fourth goal, then made a tremendous save, but Andrew Lord was first to the re-bound to make it 4-1 at 24;02 and ruin the potential shut out.

Sheffield, though, continued their no-frills, fast, direct tape-to-tape transition and it only took 18 seconds for Rob Dowd to flick in number five.

Every home player was willing to fight for the puck with Colton Fretter and Tyler Mosienko particularly on the money.

Devils were run ragged in the last session; Fretter crafted a superb pass for Roy to get his second on a delayed penalty.

With the Welsh lashing out on and off the puck, Mosienko stuck the seventh, triggering the replacement of Bowns in Cardiff’s net.

With two minutes left, Roy coolly slotted home his hat-trick from close range.

- On Saturday, Thompson made a hero’s return to his former club, Coventry - well, he was certainly a hero to the large following of Sheffield fans at the Skydome.

Plante shut out Blaze’s 25 shots as Mosienko, Fretter, Roy and Nelson (empty netter) shared the goals around.

Thompson said the trip back to his roots had brought back a lot of memories, but he and his team had been focused on delivering the win.

“We found another gear” he said. “The boys did a super job.”

Steelers face Coventry, again, at the Arena on Saturday.

RESULTS

Sunday 13th September

Elite League

Manchester Storm 2 Dundee Stars 7

Nottingham Panthers 1 Belfast Giants 2 (OT)

Challenge Cup Group A

Edinburgh Capitals 0 Braehead Clan 3

Challenge Cup Group B

Sheffield Steelers 8 Cardiff Devils 1

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