Ice Hockey Report: Sheffield Steelers 3 Belfast Giants 4
Steelers' form in their Conference division remains a conundrum.
They had emphatically stamped their mark on Cardiff Devils for the first time this season in impressive fashion, with a 4-0 shut-out on Saturday night.
But after a superb first period on Sunday, when they forged 2-0 ahead of Belfast Giants, they slipped to a 4-3 defeat on Arena ice.
Sheffield have now lost all but one of their six games in the Erhardt table.
They’d set off like a storm, taking just 10 seconds for Colton Fretter to unleash the first shot.
With Mark Matheson smooth at the back and John Armstrong impossible to tie down, Sheffield deserved a lead. And they got it on a 5-on-3 Power Play.
Ben O’Connor had no fewer than three efforts on goal before a centre blue line shot from Matheson was tipped in by Mathieu Roy at 12.20.
A check from behind on Levi Nelson from Spiro Goulakos saw the player take a 2+10 penalty and that led to goal number two, O’Connor again assisting on Armstrong’s strike.
Giants had beaten Guildford Flames on Friday and had Saturday night off- but they left the ice at the interval lucky to be just two goals behind.
With Zack Fitzgerald thrown out after a high sticking, Giants, who started the night off six points behind Steelers, had to find second gear.
And that they did. While they couldn’t executed on a 5-on-3 PP they halved their arrears at 23;53 when Jonathan Ferland cannoned the puck off the bar.
The Northern Irish had a goal washed out and hit the post through Sebastien Sylvestre, who threatened offensively whenever he was on the ice.
Steelers, defeated in their previous two games to Giants, had lost their way a little.
And they yielded the lead when Colin Shields scored as d-man Scott Aarssen complained of a stick to the face.
Sheffield’s silky passing of earlier was harder to maintain and the final touch was lacking.
Giants took the lead for the first time when the speed of Goulakos’ shot beat Ervins Mustukovs’ flapping left arm at 46;54.
Tempers frayed with Fretter and Goulakos ejected, but at least Matheson made it 3-3 at 50;09.
Giants, who finish their checks and take no prisoners, took the lead again on the PP, Sylvestre winning the game.