Sheffield Steelers 4-3 Coventry Blaze (final score)
Sheffield Steelers claimed both points this evening against Coventry Blaze, but lost winger Jordan Owens after he received a hit-to-the-head penalty.
Owens connected with Ben Lake's chin or neck as he went for a check in the neutral zone.
It was the last action the Canadian winger saw as the referee kicked him out with a game penalty.
Coventry had started the evening two places and two points behind Sheffield in the rankings, but with four games in hand.
Steelers had Tanner Eberle back from a concussion, with Tom Zanoski - on the first line in the big midweek defeat to Glasgow Clan - was on the fourth unit. Jonas Fredriksson appeared after Sutton Sting agreed his return to the Steelers' blue line.
Danny Stewart's team had to withstand a robust start from the home side, with Sheffield clearly briefed to take the body.
There was a lot of hustle and bustle but not much precision with Davey Phillips blasting over the bar from a good position between the circles.
But Anthony DeLuca put Steelers ahead at 14;51.
His upper body strength managed to wrestle off a marker to keep the puck in the zone, and he cashed in when Evan McGrath took over, shot into the side of the net, took it around the back and nudged it under Matt Hackett where DeLuca was on hand to get his 12th of the season.
Jordan Owens and David Clements brawled on the centre line with Blaze unhappy about a previous shoulder check from the Sheffield player landed high on Lake.
Owens was given a game misconduct, at 19;03.
Steelers had been outshot 15-10 in the first session but the feisty end to that period ensured an electrically-charged period to follow.
On the penalty kill, Steelers doubled their advantage, John Armstrong striding clear, rounding the goalie and backhanding in for 2-0.
But four minutes later Nicolai Bryhnisveen narrowed the score, seemingly taking his time to pick his spot for the shot.
Yet DeLuca nipped in to score his second of the night, a solo effort which then saw him enjoyed his celebration in front of the visiting fans.
Jackson Whistle defied chances from close and long range, enabling Steelers to build on their lead.
And there was a stroke of fortune about their fourth.
Josh McFadden scooted down the left flank and his pass into the danger zone went in off Kevin Noble's foot.
An intelligent move saw Coventry outnumber McFadden and his team-mates, at 49;27, with Lake making it 4-2.
Hackett went berserk when Eric Neiley drove the net at 51;05, smashing his blocker into the Steeler's face.
Steelers were bailed out again by Whistle as Shawn Pauly had a great opportunity.
But then the puck got lost under McFadden's foot and Kevin Morris reacted quickly to make it 4-3 at 57:53.
*The League's disciplne body will be looking at incidents in the match, later tonight.