Penalty shot sickener for Steelers: Coventry Blaze 2-1 Sheffield
Sheffield Steelers have harvested seven points from their last possible eight - dropping one in a penalty shoot-out lottery on Sunday night at Coventry Blaze.
The two sides had slugged out a 1-1 draw in 65 minutes of an ill-tempered and penalty-strewn event.
When it came to penalty shots, Anthony DeLuca, Evan McGrath, John Armstrong and Josh Pitt were all unable to force the puck home, while Alex Nikiforuk and Thom Flodqvist had success for Blaze. Despite the 2-1 loss to a team below them in the standings, Sheffield can look at their recent form with optimism.
There had an aggressive start to the night, with Noble and Robert Dowd being handed 2 + 2 for roughing and Aaron Johnson having to serve a 2 + 10 for boarding on Coventry's chief threat Ben Lake.
Blaze, 7-4 victors at Fife Flyers the night before, almost conceded when Jordan Owens, a two-goal scorer in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Nottingham Panthers, shot into the side netting.
Both sides had chances, with Eric Neiley and McGrath looking dangerous and DeLuca and Jonas Westerling threatening on a power play. But on the half-way mark, Tom Zanoski broke away and cooly rifled high into Matt Hackett's net - the Croatian forward's second in two nights, an assist going to Ben O'Connor.
Tim Crowder was injured for the hosts, yet they finally unlocked Steelers defence to level 1-1 at 48;43, Norwegian defenceman Nicolai Bryhnisveen profiting from Lake's play.
Which team would have the energy and resolve to win the final 10 minutes of regulation time?
With the continuing flow of penalties to either side, that was anybody's guess.
The answer was neither side could take the advantage, and so the game went into overtime, with Armstrong, O'Connor and Owens starting the first three-on-three shift.
That became three-on-four when Johnson was called for interference at 60.46, but they managed to kill the penalty, with Jackson Whistle again showing his quality.
There was a frantic end to overtime but the game was settled by penalty shots.