Fife Flyers 2-5 Sheffield Steelers

The term 'must-win' is one that is frequently used too loosely - but right now it couldn't apply more to Sheffield Steelers' games.

Sunday, 20th March 2022, 8:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 20th March 2022, 8:32 pm

After a weekend of split results, a loss and then a win, they can now look ahead to 10 "cup finals" - their remaining league programme.

Of that defining series, they face on-form favourites Belfast Giants three times, twice at home.

Currently trailing by four points to the Northern Ireland league leaders, they will need good results from those games and also to win their game in hand.

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Sunday night produced a hard-earned 5-2 victory at Fife, for Aaron Fox's men.

Sheffield couldn't expect an easy ride at the bottom of the table club.

After all, Flyers had been second only to Belfast in form terms over the last five games - while Steelers were second from bottom over the same period.

Steelers, without injured duo Evan Mosey and Davey Phillips, had some defending to do at the beginning.

Tanner Eberle looking to exploit a gap in Fife.

Carson Stadnyk seemed about to pull the trigger on Rok Stojanovic's goal, but was hooked by Sam Jones. Sheffield survived the first power play of the night only for Tanner Eberle to be called a 2+2 for high sticking, in an incident from which a bloodied Kristian Blumenschein needed treatment.

Kevin Schulze had swept the puck off Steelers' goal line but the home side finally succeeded at 10:37 with Canadian Brandon Magee fizzing in a low drive on the power play.

Sheffield's own power play cooked up an opportunity for Vojtech Polak, but his shot hit the post.

At 16:57, though, he refined his aim in the slot and equalised for the visitors, after a feed from his countryman Antonín Boruta, three minutes shy of the first interval.

Steelers defending at Fife.

Fife, who had beaten Cardiff Devils in a shoot-out at the same venue the night before, took the lead again, two minutes into the middle frame, through Greg Chase, but they could only hold it for seven minutes, with Polak turning provider for man of the match Martin Latal to back-hand in for 2-2.

The pendulum swung further in Steelers' favour when Robert Dowd netted on a delayed penalty, Polak again involved in the move.

And on the side of the second intermission, Justin Hodgman arrived at the back stick to make it 4-2.

Would Steelers now have room to breathe after a difficult weekend thus far?

Marco Vallerand helps out in defence.

News emerged that Belfast had squeaked an overtime win at Manchester Storm, so there was no room for complacency.

Fife gave up three consecutive penalties, which helped Sheffield's cause.

On the last of them, Matias Sointu scored his 17th goal of the season, for 5-2. It was game over.

On Saturday, 11 Sheffield skaters were in the negative column in the plus-minus statistics as Sheffield were shut out for the fourth time this season in all competitions.

They dipped 0-3 at Nottingham Panthers.

Sheffield slipped behind after just 16 seconds and never went close enough to get the puck past Kevin Carr, who blocked 38 saves.

John Armstrong hangs around the Fife net.

While the pipework helped Nottingham out on a couple of occasions, their goals from Kevin Massy, Sean Richards and Robbie Baillargeon were more than enough to put the skids on their EIHL rivals' title ambition.

It was Sheffield's 12th defeat of the league programme.