Sheffield Steeldogs took on the only two English Premier League sides they hadn't previously beaten this season and came away with a defeat and a long-awaited victory.
They went down 3-6 at home to Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday but beat Telford Tigers away 4-2.
The visit of the playoff champions Peterborough Phantoms proved a tough challenge as their high energy fore-check disrupted the Steeldogs usual game.
For much of the opening session, the Phantoms dominated the play with the Steeldogs only creating chances on the counter attack and on one of those break outs, Lascek put Sheffield in front. Peterborough levelled in the second period and tied at 1-1 the final period looked set to be a tense, cagey affair.
However things went very differently and the game exploded in a shower of goals with five scored in as many minutes.
When the dust settled it was the visitors who had the lead and in their efforts to get back level, the Steeldogs let Ales Padelek in for the second goal of his personal hat-trick, topped off with an empty netter in the closing seconds.
A tough defeat didn't seem the best preparation for a trip to take on the league champion Telford Tigers - especially on the back of a 17 game losing run against them and a 13-3 loss in the previous meeting. But once again the Steeldogs showed that they are a much improved outfit this season; a patient and disciplined opening period saw them take a two goal lead courtesy of Korhon and Bosas markers.
Telford came back to tie the game up in the middle session but the Dogs remained focused despite some very physical play from the hosts; Novak lucky to stay in the game after a check to Craig Elliott’s head and Zajac fighting an unwilling Liam Charnock, it seemed like some Telford were adopting the Steeldogs approach of old!
With the win up for grabs, a Bosas rocket on the power play put Sheffield back in front at 50.30. Telford went all out to score but the Steeldogs committed 100% to keeping them out, closing them down and blocking shots, forming a blue wall in front of the goal that the Tigers would not breach. Stano Lascek fired the puck in to Murdy’s deserted net to send the Steeldogs and their small but noisy travelling support in to ecstasy.
D-man Tim Smith was thrilled at the victory: “It's been a long, long time since we beat Telford - the changing room has been a very happy place tonight. It's never easy coming to play here, they are such a strong team but tonight we played very well, in fact I think we could have scored three or four more. Everyone has done their job, exactly what Woody (Coach Greg Wood) asked us to do in the pre-match meeting - we had a game plan and stuck to it. It's great to get that monkey off our backs.
Fellow D-man Lewis Bell was injured and watched from the bench.
He said: “When you have lost 17 on the trot, you need little motivation to get you up for a game like this. We had a game plan which we put into action and everyone had a role and played their part. We were joking in the locker room with Dali (Sedlar – netminder) saying we couldn't remember the last time he finished a game in Telford! Our performance shows what we can do as a team."
Steeldogs will look to continue that form next Sunday when they take on the Swindon Wildcats at iceSheffield (5.30).