Cliffhanger win on a night of emotion for Sheffield Steelers and 8,000 fans

The roar when Matt Petgrave's face appeared on the Videotron screen before the puck dropped told you everything you needed to know.
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The Sheffield Steelers' defenceman wasn't going to play - but he is still very much in the hearts of the Arena fans.

In his absence, Petgrave's pals doggedly chased both points in the first home game since the death of Nottingham Panthers' player Adam Johnson, on October 28.

They managed it with a Robert Dowd overtime goal at 62:43.

Steelers circle together after Coventry gameSteelers circle together after Coventry game
Steelers circle together after Coventry game
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In truth, the league game could have gone either way, at that point, with Patrick Watling and Danny Kristo both having chances to seal it.

But Dowd is a man on a mission this season, no more so than Sunday night, and the captain made no mistake with the final opportunity of the evening.

Afterwards, coach Aaron Fox had "nothing but love" for the 8,449 crowd saying it had been an emotional night.

His players had shown strength and courage to eke out a win on home ice.

Steelers before the Coventry gameSteelers before the Coventry game
Steelers before the Coventry game
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Fox hadn't expected maximum points in their first weekend back since the trauma of Adam's death.

"Definitely we got more than we bargained for," he said.

Blaze boss Danny Stewart said it had been a scrappy game but his side had stayed in with a chance, particularly in the extra period.

In fact, Coventry had the best early chance Kobe Roth wasting it by firing the wrong side of Matt Greenfield's upright.

Robert Dowd winner Robert Dowd winner
Robert Dowd winner

But Brett Neumann showed the proper technique at the other end to forehand the puck home for 1-0 at 7:45.

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The middle period was not as vibrant with Kevin Tansey picking up a knock and both sides deadlocking the other.

A Kameron Kielly v Kristo scrap brought a bit more spice into matters, but Blaze kept in touching distance.

Their plan was to shut up shop and make the most of their few chances.

And that was achieved when J.D. Dudek backhanded an equaliser with 10 minutes of regular time remaining.

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The pressure for a winning goal was palpable, in the Steelers' stands.

Coventry are hard-working and well-drilled though and managed the game into overtime.

Dowd's thrilling finish past Taran Kozun made sure Sheffield went into the four remaining November fixtures with a fresh wave of optimism.

The 2-1 cliffhanger came after a more comfortable 4-1 win at Manchester Storm in a Challenge Cup group game.

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The fact that the match was a dead-rubber event didn't stop Sheffield fans travelling in numbers and supporting their side to a healthy win which underlined the gap in quality between the Roses rivals.

Patrick Watling's opener was cancelled out by Mitchell Martan, but Storm hadn't deserved to be level and the rest of the match endorsed that.

Dowd, Marco Vallerand and Daniel Ciampini scored the other goals.