Sheffield Steelers 5-3 Braehead Clan (report)

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Sheffield Steelers got off to a decent start in their first League match of the season, tonight, claiming maximum points.

Their speed and flair threatened to overwhelm Braehead Clan at the Arena early on and they took a fourth minute lead, through Robert Dowd.

Steelers v Clan. Pic by Dean Woolley

Steelers v Clan. Pic by Dean Woolley

Steelers had Levi Nelson back despite the lingering effects of a knee injury and he assisted on the goal, after changing his mind over a possible line-change to help the forward momentum.

The reigning champions, without defenceman Anders Franzon, still exhibited weaknesses at the back though.

Craig Peacock failed to capitalise on two good Clan chances

But they caught Sheffield on a two-on-one and Corey Cowick executed for 1-1 at 11;34.

Steelers v Braehead

Steelers v Braehead

The first session looked like ending as a stalemate but Mathieu Roy nipped in to put the home side ahead - his sixth goal in seven games.

It set the scene for a dominating middle section, which Sheffield took 2-0.

John Armstrong and Colton Fretter had both come close before Fretter's pass set up a walloping centre blueline slap shot at 26;32.

It was 4-1 four minutes later when Dowd's shot bounced back off the back boards to allow Andreas Valdix in.

Dowd was enjoying himself, and he was unlucky when his power drive banged the near post at 34;38.

The Teesside winger also teed up O'Connor, whose full-blooded drive was well caught by Michal Zajkowski.

Clan struck back with a vengeance though.

Peacock's luck in front of goal improved when he danced around O'Connor to finish.

And Matt Beca reduced Steelers' lead to 4-3 at 45;45.

The turning point came when Sheffield goalie Ervins Mustukovs saved from Jeff Ulmer - with an equaliser for the Scots looking likely.

O'Connor finished a memorable night for him with a goal, helped by the home team's fourth line with five minutes remaining.

Steelers travel to Manchester Storm for a Challenge Cup Group game tomorrow.

*RESULTS

Saturday 1st October

Elite League

Belfast Giants 2 Cardiff Devils 3 (OT)

Fife Flyers 4 Coventry Blaze 1

Sheffield Steelers 5 Braehead Clan 3

Elite League/Challenge Cup Group B

Nottingham Panthers 8 Manchester Storm 5

Challenge Cup Group A

Dundee Stars 4 Edinburgh Capitals 1