Manchester Storm 5 Sheffield Steelers 2: Heavy defeat as Fox’s men prepare to welcome Cardiff
Sheffield Steelers must beat Cardiff Devils on Sunday or they will have surrendered three straight defeats for the first time this term.
On Saturday night, they lost 5-2 at Manchester Storm, six days after losing at home to Glasgow Clan.
Altrincham is always a difficult rink to get anything out of.
But Sheffield had gone there wanting to get some momentum going - and it just didn't work out that way.
They were 4-1 down with less than five minutes left and were second best in this Challenge Cup game.
Storm, who like Steelers had tasted defeat in their last match, took the lead at 10:49.
With Aaron Brocklehurst called for slashing, Storm scored on the Power Play, Adam Hughesman on the back post, assisted by Dallas Ehrhardt and Cameron Critchlow .
But Steelers, who just got the better of Manchester a fortnight ago at home, made sure it was level at the first interval with a heavy shot from Eric Meland diverted in by Tanner Eberle.
Goalie Pavel Kantor kept Steelers level at the start of the second period.
But Storm killed a penalty - Raymond Grewal called for holding the stick - and four seconds later the momentum changed and they went ahead again, Tyson Fawcett, assisted by Mathieu Gagnon.
At the half-way mark, Steelers suffered another blow: Jared Aulin backhanding in a rebound after Hughesman's creativity.
Ninety four seconds into the last period, 23-year-old defenceman Raymond Grewal blasted through traffic from the point to give an unassailable 4-1 lead.
Steelers had to find something they'd lacked so far, if they were to get back into the game.
And that included getting the better of home goalie Matt Ginn.
Meland's breakaway threatened to force the breakthrough, but he could not outwit Ginn.
Perseverance brought a second Steeler goal; a 55:42, Eberle wrist-shot high for his second of the night, assisted by Marc-Olivier Vallerand and Davey Phillips .
But Zach Sullivan made the scoreline considerably worse for Steelers with two seconds left.
*Ben O'Connor says Cardiff Devils goalie Ben Bowns is a contender as the best British-born goaltender of all time.
The Welsh team arrives in Sheffield for a League game on Sunday.
And Bowns, born in Rotherham and a product of the Sheffield junior system is "certainly in the conversation" when it comes to the best home-grown netminder, says his GB team-mate O'Connor.
The Sheffield defenceman said there were others challenging for such a tribute, over the years.
But he described Bowns as "a very good goalie, huge for the national team and huge for Cardiff in years past.
O'Connor says it is getting harder for Brits to break through into top class goaltending, as Bowns had done when he left Sheffield Steeldogs for Hull Stingrays, seven years ago.