Coventry Blaze 1 Sheffield Steelers 4: Revenge mission to Skydome get Fox's men up and running

Sheffield Steelers got their League campaign off and running as they cruised to a 4-1 win at Coventry Blaze on Sunday.

By Bob Westerdale
Sunday, 8th September 2019, 9:39 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th September 2019, 10:41 pm
Marc-Olivier Vallerand scores against Coventry
Marc-Olivier Vallerand scores against Coventry

Aaron Fox's men, who had collapsed in the later stages of Saturday's 6-4 home loss to Danny Stewart's men, enjoyed emphatic revenge at the Skydome.

It was a win based partly on a solid, team-defence - a quality which had been missing in their three previous matches.

The side certainly responded to their coach's call for more responsibility when the opposition had the puck.

And the firepower at the other end was impressive.

Marc-Olivier Vallerand had been returning to his former clubs but he was in the penalty box after just 69 seconds for crosschecking.

His team-mates killed the penalty, John Armstrong almost scoring short-handed.

Coventry's penalty killers then followed suit as they stonewalled Steelers.

Steelers' goalie Tomas Duba guards the goal from Coventry's Matt Pohlkamp

Defences were on top, but Sheffield's was examined again at 13:28 when Nikolai Lemtyugov received a minor for interference.

But Tomas Duba, handed Steelers' goaltending duties after Pavel Kantor conceded five of the six goals on Saturday, kept Blaze at bay.

Martin St. Pierre opened his Elite League goal-account, as Sheffield grabbed the initiative at 16:17.

The strike by the 39-game NHLer was enough to shade the first period in Steelers' favour.

Robert Dowd's scored his second in two nights to widen the advantage at 23;52.

The South Yorkshire team had flittered away a two-goal lead the night before. But they took steps to cement their authority when Vallerand hit the net for 3-0 at 31;52, a goal that survived video review.

It was the number 88's first domestic goal of the season.

Blaze were rattled, although they managed to avoid any more in their net when Dillon Lawrence took a minor penalty, followed by another two-minute call against David Clements.

Sheffield continued to wreak havoc at the other end, Armstrong finding the net with a wrist shot at 49;18.

At 4-0, the game was won, but the crowd had another spectacle to savour when David Broll and Lemtyugov exchanged blows, at 51;19.

Lemtyugov was bombed out of the game for instigation, Broll penalised for roughing and fighting.

When the dust settled, Blaze broke the prospect of a shut out, Evan Bloodoff scoring high past Duba on the power play at 52;02.

Over the weekend, honours were even.