Guildford Flames 3 Sheffield Steelers 6 - Anthony DeLuca apologises after picking up suspension

Steelers' winger Anthony DeLuca has said he is sorry for kicking a goalie in the ribs - a violation that has cost him and his club a two-game suspension.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 9:02 pm
Rok Stojanovic in the first period at Guildford

DeLuca lashed out as he celebrated a goal against Guildford Flames in Saturday's unexpected 6-4 loss at Sheffield Arena.

The hot-headed Canadian was banned from Sunday's outstanding reverse fixture in Surrey. In his absence, Sheffield went top of the league, albeit after four games.

The forward will also miss out on Saturday's visit of Nottingham Panthers.

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The Elite League disciplinary body accepted his kick had not been "forceful."

But they stated: "With Lindskoug on the ice unable to protect himself, DeLuca, fully aware and looking at Lindskoug, draws his right leg back and delivers a kick towards the body."

They added anybody engaged "in kicking, is putting his opponent at immediate risk of serious injury."

DeLuca admitted his guilt the following morning.

John Armstrong congratulated after equalising against Guildford on Saturday night. Pic Dean Woolley

"I’d like to apologize for my actions last night, in the heat of the moment I let my emotions get the better of me. It was dumb and instantly regretted. I am truly sorry for my actions and lack of professionalism," he tweeted.

DeLuca's absence created an extra import hole in Sunday's roster at Flames, with Tanner Eberle injured and Barry Brust's place in goal once handed again to Rok Stojanovic.

Yet the extra workload didn't seem to worry Sheffield, who took a lead inside three minutes. Jamal Watson took a tripping call and Martin Latal scored his second-ever Steeler goal on the power play.

Justin Hodgman almost added another as Steelers flexed their offensive muscles and kept the back door shut.

Anthony DeLuca sees red before his 2-match suspension. Pic: Dean Woolley.

The road team doubled their advantage with Robert Dowd on target after a supply chain involving linemate Marco Vallerand and Todd 9:39.

Flames looked nothing like the side that won in Sheffield and they dropped a defensive clanger 85 seconds into the middle frame, allowing the supercharged Dowd his second of the evening.

A power play ensured they could try to mount a rescue operation; with Vallerand in the box for kneeing, 6ft 3ins Swede Jesper Alasaari used all his size to blast home a reply at 26:08.

Would the momentum swing the way of the home side at the Spectrum? The short answer was: no.

Fisticuffs on Sunday at Guildford - Justin Hodgman getting stuck in

Guildford couldn't execute a power play that straddled the second interval and Sheffield effectively won the game with two goals in 58 seconds.

The first was a superb solo effort from Hodgman before Dowd sealed his hat-trick with a one-timer.

Late replies from Brett Ferguson and Mac Howlett weren't enough to disturb the balance of power, especially as Jonathan Phillips despatched an empty netter.

Steelers had been surprisingly out-manoeuvered on their own ice by the counter-attackers of Guildford on Saturday night. The home goals were scored by Armstrong, Connolly, Vallerand, and Graham.

Sheffield's next match is a Challenge Cup meeting on Saturday at home to Nottingham Panthers. The match against Fife Flyers, scheduled for a week on Tuesday has been postponed.