Ice Hockey Report: Sheffield Steelers 4 Coventry Blaze 1

Geoff walker tries to get a shot in, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
Geoff walker tries to get a shot in, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
0
Have your say

Steelers won the League last season with 72 points. In this campaign they went a point better off yet ended up a title bridesmaid.

It indicates while Sheffield have remained a strong force others in the Elite division have come on stronger, Cardiff Devils and second-place Belfast Giants, in particular.

On Sunday, Steelers, who have played in front of 24,354 spectators in their last four games alone, wanted to put a show on for the Arena faithful, especially after being panned 6-2 by newly-crowned champions Cardiff in their last home outing.

But they had three penalties to kill in the first period after Coventry Blaze, hunting in vain for the last Play Off place, put them under pressure.

Coventry, 4-1 victors over Steelers at the beginning of March, lacked the precision to unlock the home penalty killers.

Both sides showed some pre-Play Off aggression, with Jordan Pietrus and Davey Phillips throwing strong hits.

The Coventry goal leads a charmed life, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

The Coventry goal leads a charmed life, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Ervins Mustukovs, back in goal after a late fitness test, had to fell Ben Davies as he threatened a wrap-around.

The closest chance either side came up with fell to Matt Marquardt rattling Sheffield’s crossbar.

Steelers needed to step up a gear.

And it came after an excellent passing move between Rob Dowd and Levi Nelson delivered the game’s first goal, the Brit’s strike signalling a dominating period for Sheffield.

The Steelers goal leads a charmed life, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

The Steelers goal leads a charmed life, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Brian Stewart made an instinctive save from Mathieu Roy and Andreas Valdix pitched a ricocheted off the post.

But the Midlanders overcame their difficulties to equalise.

Yared Hagos complained he’d been boarded at one end as Blaze rushed up the other, veteran sniper Ashley Tait making it 1-1.

After three consecutive losses, Blaze showed they were up for a scrap. However Steelers sewed the game up in the final session.

Mathieu Roy comes away with the puck, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Mathieu Roy comes away with the puck, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Roy hit the the post to give warning on what was to follow. John Armstrong then drove the net, making the most of less than convincing marking to make it 2-1.

Thirty four seconds later another darting move from Armstrong let in Colton Fretter to add a third.

And the killer goal came when Roy, playing right point on the Power Play, monstered in a long range shot from centre blue line.

Coach’s player of the year Robin Bergman tried to orchestrate a comeback, but there was never a chance.

Steelers boss Paul Thompson said it was a tight game but he was pleased with the penalty killing and the way his team killed off Coventry after the second goal.

Geoff walker tries to get a shot in, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Geoff walker tries to get a shot in, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 26th March 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.