Ice Hockey Report: Sheffield Steelers 6 Milton Keynes Lightning 1
Expect some mixed results in this year's highly competitive Elite League, they told us.
And that’s been the way, for sure.
Steelers struggle to find rhythm and consistency - splitting the weekend with a defeat at Erhardt Conference rivals Nottingham (1-4) on Saturday and then hammering Milton Keynes 6-1 at home on Sunday.
In the previous FOUR Saturday/Sunday pairs of domestic games Steelers have won and lost - so fans should be getting used to it by now.
Away results have been a concern and coach Paul Thompson had admitted some of his players lacked confidence in Saturday’s loss.
On Sunday, there were early signs that the trigger still wasn’t being pulled enough. But all of that was to change dramatically.
MK, visiting Sheffield for the first time in 22 years, soaked up a series of attacks while their slick transition posed a real danger.
Liam Kirk, full of ideas on Steelers’ fourth line, set up Jonas Westerling, who should have tested the goalie.
Sheffield went ahead on the Power Play John Armstrong back-handing into the top corner at 9:10.
A Scott Aarssen give-away gave a chance to MKL’s Ben Foster, but he squandered it.
And that was the story of the first period, with Sheffield failing to execute, despite a period shot-count of 12-4.
Colton Fretter potted home from close range at 21;20 but there was little between the sides in the middle section.
Steelers’ power play unit was rocked when they conceded a breakaway scored short handed by Kyle Essery.
Some Steeler forwards looked frustrated and it was left to defenceman Mark Matheson to crash in for 3-1 on the PP at 39:09.
Lightning didn’t look capable of scoring a hatful, as they had done against Steelers eight days earlier.
They were busy but toothless. And they were about to be over-run.
MKL went 4-1 behind at 50;54. Robert Dowd, who seconds earlier had lost possession, took a pass from Levi Nelson and slotted past Miika Wiikman, who was then replaced in goal.
Mathieu Roy then ended events with a flourish, scoring twice in two minutes to do his confidence the world of good.