Steelers stars unleash a 22-goal bonanza

Coventry Blaze 2 Sheffield Steelers 4 (Sunday) Sheffield Steelers 18 Edinburgh Capitals 1 (Saturday)

SHEFFIELD Steelers confirmed a much-needed four-point weekend with a win over a struggling Coventry Blaze side last night.

Rob Dowd bagged a brace as the Steelers eased through. Coventry are still suffering from injury problems, with Greg Owen the latest casualty. With Jonathan Weaver, Brian Lee, Owen Fussey and Jeff Smith still watching from the sidelines, Blaze were playing with thin cover.

Sheffield took the lead after a mistake behind their own net by old boy Robert Farmer, who lost his stick, allowing the Steelers to break.

A crisp passing movement saw the forwards swarm up the ice and Rob Dowd swivel and shoot home. Sheffield prompted a number of desperate clearances from Coventry's goal area. At one time there were six bodies in the crease, three sticks on the floor and the puck lying untended away from the melee.

Coventry got back on terms when Farmer won the puck, dropped a pass to Cowley, who fed it to Greg Chambers. Even with his poor form this year the GB winger couldn't miss a tap in. Then the wheels fell off the home bandwagon as they conceded three goals in the second period. They lost possession at the end of a Steelers penalty and Ashley Tait emerged from the box as late man on the play to ram the puck home. Brett Jaeger had been clattered twice by this point and the Blaze netminder was in the wars further when a puck hit his neck. Neil Clark wobbled off after a puck hit him in the face too.

Both played Tait turned provider for the third, putting in good work behind the goal before setting up Rob Globke for a tap-in.

Dowd made it 4-1, skating into the zone, using James Pease as a screen and firing a wrist shot into the top corner.

Blaze couldn't find a way back in the game, despite a well taken goal from Luke Fulghum as he exchanged passes with Aaron Nell before firing home. Sheffield had more chances to score, with Tait making a great move before leaving a drop pass, only for Joey Talbot to shoot wide. And Dowd could have completed a hat trick with the puck falling to him at the back post.

n Saturday night revealed all that's good and bad about UK hockey. Steelers regained winning form after a midweek defeat against Cardiff. But they were playing a team so depleted that the match was the kind of no-contest that older Steelers fans may recall from the early days.

The modern-day team recording the most goals scored by any Elite League team in a single game, but it was like playing recreation opponents, with just three imports icing for Caps. There were no penalties - underlining the almost training-style exercise that it became as soon as Tom Squires scored the first in the fourth minute. Squires and Robert Dowd went on to stake hat-tricks. The other strikes came from Neil Clark (five) Rob Globke, two, and singles from Jason Hewitt, Kevin Bolibruck, Ben Simon, Joey Talbot and Derek Campbell. Jeff Hutchins scored for the hapless Caps. Steelers did what they had to - but this was no advert for any supposedly competitive League.

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