Manchester Storm 3 Sheffield Steelers 4: First win of the year in Manchester keeps Steelers top

Sheffield Steelers pulled off their first win of the season at Manchester Storm to stay top of the EIHL division.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 9:32 pm
Sheffield Steelers celebrate a first period goal at Manchester

Two goals from Lucas Sandström came in handy for a team that is having little luck with injuries right now - but still finding maximum points.

Sheffield were without Marco Vallerand, who was pulled out of the line-up after warm-up.

That absence was on top of Robert Dowd and John Armstrong already being ruled out, as well as the long term defensive injuries.

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Both teams were more focused on special teams at the start, with Steelers and Storm both having men in the penalty box, early on.

Steeler Davey Phillips and Storm's Kyle Hope - who didn't have the best of games in Boxing Day's 7-0 defeat in Sheffield, were both ordered off for roughing at 3:52.

Storm's bad-ass attitude saw Dallas Ehrhardt and Mathieu Gagnon sharing the penalty box.

On the five-on-three power play, hot-form winger Anthony DeLuca put Steelers 1-0 ahead (6:32) assisted by Aaron Brocklehurst.

That lead was doubled, even-handed, when Sandström netted, aided by Tanner Eberle.

The flurry of goals continued with one for either side inside 70 seconds with Cameron Critchlow and Eberle exchanging strikes for 3-1 at 13:33.

But when Raymond Grewal called for hooking for the home side, Steelers cashed in again - Brendan Connolly hitting the rigging at 16:53, after some intelligent work from Michael Davies.

Sheffield would have benefited from holding on to a three-goal lead at the first break.

But Cole Shudra's second slashing penalty of the night allowed Storm in, Mario Puskarich firing high over Tomas Duba on the power play.

So Steelers still took a 4-2 lead into the dressing room, but had concerns over Eric Meland, who had picked up an injury.

It looked like the middle period would be a dry one in terms of goals, until Storm closed the gap further, Puskarich chalking up his second of the night.

Manchester netminder Matt Ginn stopped a couple of Sheffield chances as Sheffield attempted to reimpose themselves after the second interval.

But Duba was also coming under pressure as Ryan Finnerty tried to preserve his side's fine home record against Sheffield.

DeLuca took a knock on the knee, which was the last thing Steelers needed.

His eventual return to the ice threatened to be costly, he received a double-minor for Holding the Stick and Cross Checking at 56;08.

Storm went for the dramatic leveller by pulling Ginn for the extra skater, but the points were on their way back over the Pennines.