Aaron Fox expresses deep frustration as Sheffield Steelers hand Guildford Flames a victory

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It felt like a defining moment of the whole season - the split-second Steelers lost their professionalism and handed the points to Guildford Flames, the team they are vying with at the top of the EIHL table.

With 22 seconds left, all they had to do was cleanly move the puck away from their own half, to ensure a regular game point and give them a chance of collecting both.

Instead, they lost possession to a side that specialises in out-numbering opponents on the counter attack.

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Their top point scorer Daniel Tedesco gave Guildford a 3-2 lead and then rubbed it in with an empty netter. Evening over.

Killer blow as Tedesco scores the winner for Guildford Flames at Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean WoolleyKiller blow as Tedesco scores the winner for Guildford Flames at Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley
Killer blow as Tedesco scores the winner for Guildford Flames at Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley

If somebody had baked Sheffield coach Aaron Fox a cake for his 200th game in charge, it would have gone uneaten.

He is not a good loser and lamented not taking one of several chances his men squandered.

More significantly, he mourned the moment they switched off and it cost them the game, watched by a sell-out 9,368 crowd.

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"They are a very, very good counter team and we knew that," he said. “You have to see that game out and get a point.

"You cannot give up a two-on-one with 25 seconds left of a hockey game, like that. It is frustrating...they are a hard team to handle.

"There are a few too many games now that I look back on and think we did enough to win and didn't.

"This can go one of two ways. You can feel sorry for yourself and let it bleed into the next week or you can turn the page. There is a lot of season left."

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Guildford had been the ultimate party poopers on the night Sheffield broke crowd records - it was their best run of four consecutive attendances (total: 35,248) since the golden days of 1996.

Flames gave a first-period demonstration of why they'd topped the league for weeks.

Two shots on goal in the first 28 seconds represented their urgency to get the puck into dangerous areas, and the likes of Brett Ferguson and Ryan Tait were fast and creative.

Tait assisted on the opening goal for Bradley Lalonde, a shot that wriggled under Matt Greenfield's pads.

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Sheffield were outshot 13-8 in that opening 20 minutes, the best Steeler efforts falling to Scott Allen.

Steelers showed a level of intensity in the later stages of the second period which showed why THEY had also been league leaders.

Having slipped 0-2 down to a Logan Fredericks goal, they suddenly zipped up to another level.

Robert Dowd, fizzing with pace and aggression hit the crossbar before scoring on a power play.

Then Danny Kristo struck a post.

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Fredericks scooped a puck away from a gaping goal after Guildford netminder Eamon McAdam became stranded.

Sheffield deservedly got level when Brett Neumann's sublime skills gave Allen the chance he needed to make it 2-2.

With two fewer skaters, the huge crowd hoped Flames would run out of steam.

They stayed the course in a titanic and even tussle of the final period, though.

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Both sides threatened to pull the trigger Evan Mosey looking a certainty to score and Tait hitting the outside of Greenfield's post at the other end.

Sheffield's tiring minds left more than enough room for Tedesco to shoot top shelf with the clock ticking down.

An empty net goal from the same forward flattered Guildford into a 4-2 victory.

On Friday, Sheffield were 6-3 winners at Manchester despite going behind after just 106 seconds, Michael Korol putting Manchester Storm ahead.

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They could have conceded more Evan Mosey levelled on a two-on-one break with Niklas Nevalainen.

Then they tore Storm apart in a 3-0 middle period, all the goals coming within six minutes. Kristo hit top shelf, man of the match Mosey got his second goal in a game for the first time this season, and the fourth line illustrated the club's depth with a goal from Tomas Pitule.

Altrincham was set for a supercharged final session with Anthony DeLuca scoring twice against his old Steeler employers and Neumann and Dowd concluding the scoring, and a 6-3 road win.