Home victory for Steelers: Sheffield 4-1 Manchester Storm
Steelers chalked up their seventh win in eight matches as they continue to evolve under Tom Barrasso.
On a night Sheffield welcomed Eric Neiley back to the team, two power play goals and two late periodÂ strikes were enough to see off a plucky and aggressive Manchester Storm, 4-1.
Steelers started by cycling fast, testing the legs of Manchester, who had held champions CardiffÂ Devils on Saturday before losing in overtime.
But Ryan Finnerty's men were canny and repeatedly tried to expolit space through the middle ofÂ Steelers' ranks.
Matt Climie, making his debut in the home goal, was quick to distribute the puck to launch counter-attacks but there were few clear-cut chances in the opening 10 minutes.
Stefan Della Rovere missed the opportunity of burying a rebound and on the game's first Power PlayÂ Luke Moffatt hit the outside of Climie's post.
Davey Phillips and ex Steeler Brendan Brooks both had chances.
Then, with Anthony DeLuca drawing a slashing penalty, the puck fell to Ben O'Connor, who sent a wristÂ shot in, his effort wriggling under goalie Matt Ginn, after a tip from Josh Pitt, for 1-0.
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Manchester's discipline broke down; as it was to do later.Â The main flashpoint came when a Davey Phillips hit on the board, injured Ciaran Long.Â The impact from the taller man came high, but looked fair to me.Â Linden Springer disagreed and tore into Phillips, and was given a 10 minute instigation misconduct.
Storm pair Shane Bakker and Rob Linsmayer both took slashing minors and, after a timeÂ out for instructions, Jason Westerling tapped in the 5-on3 PP, for 2-0, at 31:11.
Climie showed his composure with a couple of saves to preserve the margin as the skaters kept theirÂ calm.
Storm needed some offensive inspiration and Shane Bakker repeated the tactic of spearing centrallyÂ through the orange ranks.
Five on five, Storm looked the part. And with 11 minutes left, it was game on. The home side hadÂ three skaters in front of Climie as Storm pressed - and there seemed no danger until Evan Richardson popped the puck home, at 48:59.
Della Rovere, coming off the bench, steadied the ship though by sneaking a wrist shot home at 52;03.Â And a long-range Mark Matheson effort sealed the win.