Coventry Blaze 5 Sheffield Steelers 7 - Aaron's Fox's men fired up for Blaze yet again

Sheffield moved three points clear at the top of the EIHL mini league table with their fourth straight win over Coventry Blaze, this one 7-5.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 9:24 pm
Sheffield Steelers' Brendan Connolly after scoring against Coventry

Steelers certainly have the whip hand over their Midlands rivals.

Sheffield fans, watching the web stream at home, would be forgiven for chiming: 'Can we play you every week?' - and it does feel a bit like that anyway, with their team having faced Blaze in three of the last five games.

However, there was a down-side. Sheffield squandered a 6-1 lead to a 6-5 scoreline in a messy final session, before they empty-netted a seventh.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The final 15 minutes were something that Steelers will want to forget.

The game had been open from the start, with chances and mistakes aplenty - Sam Duggan almost deflecting into his own net.

Steelers were unable to cash in on a 5-on-3 power play, but they continued to fashion the clearer opportunities, Josh Waller was glove-saved by Jordan Hedley, who also stopped

Solder Olden one-on-one, while at the other end Curtis Warburton blocked a solo effort from Ross Venus.

Tanner Eberle competes for the puck

A sublime piece of skill from Brendan Connolly broke the deadlock at 14:16.

The sharpshooter had approached the net down the left flank and when he couldn't find a pass to a team-mate, he directed the puck under the bar with ultimate precision.

In a period Kevin Schulze described as "sloppy" Sheffield had at least nudged in front.Warburton was forced into three saves in the first 90 seconds of period two - and it was that platform which prompted Steelers to hit back, with Tanner Eberle scoring a neat, back

handed wrap around at 21:56.

Sheffield Steelers' Davey Phillips on the boards

Blaze refused to lie down and Mike Hammond fired in a reply, low and hard, from the right, at 26:10.

But Bálint Pákozdi, revelling in the ice time afforded to him, sent a pass across the top of the crease which set up first Adrian Saxrud Danielsen and then Jérémy Beaudry, who potted home for 3-1.

Two minutes later, Waller - possibly smarting after being left out of the Great Britain national roster - looped a puck over Hedley to give his side a three goal cushion.

It seemed game-over when Eberle one-timed a slapshot home on the power play at 36;33.

That 4-1 middle session massacre suggested a conservative approach was needed from Steelers in the final 20 minutes.

But Liam Kirk hadn't scored and after some persistent work getting the puck to the net, he forehanded number six, at 42:55.

Then it all started to go a bit wrong.

Mac Howlett popped in a goal before Tristan Keck.

Saxrud Danielsen suddenly blew a fuse - punching Keck in the face for what appeared little reason. The d-man received a 2+10 penalty and his team paid the price, Duggan reduced the deficit to 6-4.

The scoreline was now much closer than it needed to be, from a Sheffield perspective.

And when Hammond made it 6-5 at 58:33, questions were asked about how momentum had been surrendered.

Thankfully an empty net goal for Connolly soothed the nerves.

Steelers play Nottingham Panthers on Saturday and Manchester on Sunday, before the play off semi finals start.