Sheffield Steelers 5 Belfast Giants 1: Schultz at the double

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Sheffield Steelers winger Jesse Schultz is a man with a goal in his stick.

He took command of a hard-fought match against Belfast Giants to score two goals and lead his side to victory.

Jesse Schultz in a two-goal performance for  Steelers last night. Photo: Dean Woolley

Jesse Schultz in a two-goal performance for Steelers last night. Photo: Dean Woolley

The Canadian has found the net in Sheffield’s last three games and always posed a threat.

On Sunday, he was moved off the top line, but wreaked the damage.

Even more significantly, Steelers defence looked, in the main, much stronger than of late.

Giants, who the previous evening had beaten Braehead 5-1, are a neat passing side and felt unfortunate to have finished the first period sharing a 0-0 tie.

Ervins Mustukovs kept Steelers in it although Ryan Martinelli and Chris Higgins both struck the pipework.

Giants had three power plays, one of them, a 5-on-3 but couldn’t make the most of them.

Offensively, Sheffield carved out opportunities but didn’t get quick the same quality chances, so the side chalked up their second straight goalless period in successive games.

The parity continued in the middle section, although Sheffield took a lead one minute in.

An unselfish pass from Andreas Valdix teed up Scultz - and he couldn’t miss, especially as Giants goalie Jackson Whistle left a huge gap at the near post. It was his third goal in three games.

Whistle, son of former Steelers coach Dave, may have got his positioning wrong but the 21-year-old prospect shut the door for the rest of the period.

Giants pressed to get back and Mustukovs had to be sharp to stop a backhander from Higgins and a slapshot from Jeff Mason. But he was beaten when Colin Shields steered the puck home for 1-1 at 37;18.

Ben O’Connor disappeared for hamstring treatment but Steelers still found their offensive edge.

A Power Play goal with nine minutes remaining saw Schultz add to his earlier strike.

Suddenly it was all going Steelers way. Zack Fitzgerald nailed Jim Vandermeer with a big hit as the home side buzzed with confidence.

It was to show up on the scoreboard when Guillaume Desbiens scored his first of the season - celebrating it in style.

Mathieu Roy, the hardest working player on the ice, then drove down the right wing to find the advancing Christoffer Bjorklund who put the game beyond doubt with number four.

Andreas Valdix added a fifth at the death.

RESULTS

Sunday 9th October

Elite League

Coventry Blaze 0 Fife Flyers 1

Dundee Stars 2 Cardiff Devils 4

Edinburgh Capitals 2 Braehead Clan 5

Sheffield Steelers 5 Belfast Giants 1

Challenge Cup Group Group B

Manchester Storm 2 Nottingham Panthers 3 (PS)

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