REPORT: Sheffield Steelers 6 Cardiff Devils 2 - Steelers salvage some pride

Sheffield Steelers' players celebrate Rob Dowd's goal against Cardiff Devils.
Sheffield Steelers' players celebrate Rob Dowd's goal against Cardiff Devils.
0
Have your say

Pride - if not the Elite League trophy - was at stake.

Belfast Giants’ victory earlier on Sunday meant Devils could not win the title on Sheffield ice - not on this occasion, anyway.

Sheffield Steelers' players celebrate Guillaume Desbiens goal against Cardiff Devils.

Sheffield Steelers' players celebrate Guillaume Desbiens goal against Cardiff Devils.

And how Steelers needed this victory over the league leaders after a torrid series of results against them.

Devils had comfortably beaten Steelers in the Challenge Cup final a week earlier and arrived in South Yorkshire on the back of four League wins.

But they came up against a team grittier at both ends of the ice - that was exemplified at the start by Mathieu Roy who was involved in tussles in both creases.

It was noticable that Denny Kearney was complaining to the officials after he was roughly bundled away from Ervins Mustukovs’ net.

Sheffield Steelers' Guillaume Desbiens scores a goal against Cardiff Devils.

Sheffield Steelers' Guillaume Desbiens scores a goal against Cardiff Devils.

In the nine previous League and Cup meetings, Steelers have lost seven to the Welsh, including all three home fixtures, but this was to be a different night.

Steelers, who have four League games remaining, took the lead through Robert Dowd at 9:16 .

The soon-to-be title favourites, who had dismissed Dundee 4-1 the previous night, had a purple period around 15 minutes, when they camped out in Sheffield’s zone, Andrew Lord prowling around looking for a sniff of a strike.

And it was Lord who scored next, at 22;27, turning quickly to direct the puck low into the corner.

A match-turnnig event followed: the Devils’ net came off its moorings after Ben O’Connor’s near post shot and Cardiff goalie Ben Bowns stayed down on the ice.

It was a right ankle injury and the Swinton-born netminder was replaced by Thomas Murdy, a 25-year-old from Whitley Bay.

Steelers upped the pressure on the understudy and Guillaume Desbiens banged home a Power Play 2-1 goal at 29;38.

But when Mustukovs was penalised for hooking Mark Richardson connected sweetly to a pass to equalise three minutes later.

Sheffield took the lead for the third time when a big rebound off Murdy’s pads fell for Levi Nelson to bury.

Poor Murdy suffered in the final session, while Mustukovs put on a show at the other end.

The game went beyond Cardiff when a fairly tame Andreas Valdix shot found the net. at 49:36.

And it was 5-2 when left hander O’Connor shot as he skated to the rink flank, the puck going across the replacement goaltender.

A Dowd empty netter - his 14th goal in 15 games, sealed the win.

* On Saturday, Steelers ended a three match losing streak with a 3-2 win at Braehead Clan’s rink filled with 3,338 fans. They went a goal behind, before John Armstrong scored.

Then Dowd won the match with a brace.

RESULTS

Sunday 12th March

Elite League

Belfast Giants 5 Nottingham Panthers 2

Dundee Stars 4 Manchester Storm 2

Edinburgh Capitals 4 Fife Flyers 5

Sheffield Steelers 6 Cardiff Devils 2

FIXTURES

Friday 17th March

Elite League

Belfast Giants v Sheffield Steelers – 7.00pm

Dundee Stars v Nottingham Panthers – 7.30pm

Saturday 18th March

Elite League

Belfast Giants v Coventry Blaze – 7.00pm

Edinburgh Capitals v Nottingham Panthers – 6.00pm

Fife Flyers v Braehead Clan – 7.15pm

Manchester Storm v Dundee Stars – 7.00pm

Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils – 7.00pm

Sunday 19th March

Elite League

Cardiff Devils v Fife Flyers – 6.00pm

Coventry Blaze v Braehead Clan – 5.15pm

Edinburgh Capitals v Nottingham Panthers – 6.00pm