Manchester Storm 4-7 Sheffield Steelers

Steelers trailed by two goals on three occasions in an offensively explosive Challenge Cup qualifying group game at Manchester Storm on Friday and still ran out winners.

Sunday, 31st October 2021, 10:17 am

Sheffield had been 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 in arrears and swapped goalies as they tried to find a way to steady the ship.

They managed it, to hand Storm their fifth straight defeat in the competition.

And that was despite the absence of injured skaters Brendan Connolly and Keaton Ellerby, who are doubtful for Saturday's return fixture at Broughton Lane.

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Anthony DeLuca furious at Manchester.

The 11-goal thriller was lively from the start.

Manchester goalie Matt Ginn had to act decisively in the early moments, denying John Armstrong, Evan Mosey and Tanner Eberle.

But the first Steelers' power play of the night served more of an inspiration to the Altrincham team than it did the visitors.

With one second remaining of the man advantage, new Storm signing Tayler Thompson - he'd only arrived the day before - broke away, scoring short handed and unassisted.

Martin Latal had a chance to complete his own breakaway but was foiled by Ginn.

Storm's special teams were lapping up their opportunity, with fomer Edmonton Oilers player Curtis Hamilton scoring on a powerplay when Robert Dowd was sat out for hooking.

But the first even-handed goal of the match came after a quick rebound conversion from Marco Vallerand at 18:25 to reduce Sheffield's arrears.

It was the side's 20th Cup strike of the season.

The away fans' hopes of a revival took a battering just 28 seconds later, though, with Jared Vanwormerm's tip on a Linden Springer shot.

From a coaching perspective, conceding so quickly after clawing back into the game must have been an irritant examined in vocal detail during the first period break.

And the goal free-for-all continued with a goal apiece within 45 seconds of the 21st minute, Latal and Adam Brady effectively cancelling each other out.

Sheffield had conceded four goals in their last game - and coach Aaron Fox's patience snapped, ordering a change of netminder with Barry Brust replacing Rok Stojanovic between the pipes.

At the half way point, Jonathan Phillips was hooked back on the rush but the resulting penalty shot saw Anthony DeLuca's effort saved by Ginn's pads.

With 13 seconds remaining of the middle period, though, Schulze banged in a cracking shot to send a surge of confidence into the Steeler ranks.

Another roaming defenceman brought Sheffield level for the first time, Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen making it 4-4...only his second goal of the season.

Both teams gave the fans their money's worth, with some end-to-end entertainment.

It was DeLuca who finally edged Sheffield in front, punishing Ginn's inability to control a Justin Hodgman effort.

Vallerand's second of the evening and a late, late tip in from Matias Sointu, made sure that Sheffield travelled back over the Pennines with both points.