Cup final defeat - but still a memorable season for Sheffield Steeldogs
Sheffield Steeldogs were left ruing missed chances as Swindon beat them to claim the NIHL National Cup.
The tie was locked at 2-2 after the first leg in Sheffield.
The Wildcats came out hard and fast, as predicted by player/coach Aaron Nell and were 2-0 up in 11 minutes.
The Steeldogs looked out of sorts against the fired up Wildcats team.
The second period didn’t start any better for Sheffield and by 28:49 the home side were 4-0 up.
This seemed to bring the Dogs to life with Liam Charnock firing one home on the next shift.
The pressure continued and James Spurr skipped through to add a second late in the session to get his team back within two and give hope for the final 20 minutes.
Swindon looked happy to play a containing game and make Sheffield battle for any kind of opportunity. The Dogs got the puck in the net with about 10 minutes remaining but the goal was waived off.
The crucial moment came at 53:06 when Spurr was hauled down on a breakaway – he was awarded a penalty shot but he couldn’t convert the chance. Deja-vu for the Dogs, with Milan Kolena having had his effort saved in the playoff semi-final 8 days before.
The Steeldogs kept battling to the final seconds but Swindon held on for a 4-2 win, adding the National Cup to the Autumn Cup they had won against Basingstoke.
A disappointing end to the season but this will still go in the record books as the Steeldogs most successful year having been crowned Northern League Champions.
Ben Morgan has moved the club forward in his first year as player/coach and it will be interesting to see how the team develops from here.