A plus point despite two defeats for Sheffield Steeldogs

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Sheffield Steeldogs spent last weekend on the road and with some improved performances, picked up their first point after five defeats.

They got their solitary reward in an overtime 6-5 loss at Swindon Wildcats 6 but dipped at Telford Tigers 5-4.

On Saturday at Swindon, both sides were missing players but the Steeldogs made the better start and Macaulay Heywood opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

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The first period was a fairly even affair and a Malasinski strike made sure the score line reflected that.

Sheffield played with increasing confidence and they had the lion’s share of the second session and goals from both of their Lithuanian's gave them control; Arnoldas Bosas beating Lyle just after a power play expired and Kumeliauskas’ determination reaping rewards.

Swindon upped their efforts in the final session and as they pushed, they forced errors – which they capitalised on. Goals from Bullas, Hoog and Malasinski inside a six minute period looked to have killed off the Steeldogs challenge.

However, Greg Wood called his timeout and got a response; Calvert and Kumeliauskas putting them back in front. Malasinski tied the scores with his hat-trick goal and sent the game to overtime where Jordan Kelsall snatched a winner.

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Sunday's game was a quick return to Telford for Steeldogs new boy Macaulay Heywood but it wouldn't be the happiest return.

Sheffield encountered a familiar foe; a slow start that had them two down inside the opening 10 minutes. The return of Pavel Mrna boosted their scoring threat and the big Czech released a quick shot to get the Dogs back in the game.

Telford kept peppering Hadfield's net and by the 25 minute mark both Clarkson and Silverthorn had a pair of goals. They thought they had a fifth on a power play but it was washed out as a Tiger had been in the crease.

Goals can change momentum and Heywood's second of the weekend had that effect with Bosas and Mrna also beating Gospel to wipe out the three goal deficit in as many minutes.

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The giant figure of former Cardiff Devil Doug Clarkson had been a threat all game and with the clock ticking down on the second period, he scored his hat-trick goal to put the home side back in front.

The Steeldogs committed to finding an equaliser in the final 20 minutes and out-shot their hosts 14-6. Gospel and his defence scrambled and battled and kept them out, securing a 5-4 win.

Post-game, Steeldogs d-man, Tim Smith shared his thoughts on the team’s road weekend; “We have had two tight games this weekend and we should have done better. In Swindon we cost ourselves the game. We were 3-1 up and we gave away goals which let Swindon back in the game, we need to tighten up. Coming into Telford we had confidence. The performance levels haven't been there in the past few games, but this weekend we have improved. We battled hard against Telford for sixty minutes and ran them very close.

“We've gone through a rough period over the last few weeks but we all want to be here, playing for each other and battling. You'll not find a tighter bunch of lads, a strong group of friends and team mates. We have a lot of character but we have to turn this into wins. We have to turn the screw and kick on from the positives and nullify the errors. There's no reason why we can't get back to winning ways.

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“We play Telford again on Wednesday and you can take anything away from their team. They are still stacked with talent – so many players have Elite a league experience, some top imports. We feel we have turned a corner, we know where we need to be. We just need the positivity around us to help us succeed and we want that happen on Wednesday”.

Steeldogs will be looking for that win when Telford come to iceSheffield on Wednesday evening (December 7th). The game starts at 7:30.

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