Robert Dowd supercharges Sheffield Steelers' title bid

Steelers go into this weekend's crunch fixtures against Belfast brimming with renewed confidence after Robert Dowd led them to an 8-2 thrashing of Manchester Storm.

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 10:32 am

Dowd scored five points and was a shining example of the "desperate" hockey Sheffield will need if they are to get maximum points against Giants on Saturday and Sunday.

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Assistant coach Carter Beston-Will said the result and performance against Storm was a huge fillip.

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"We were hungry," he said, an ingredient in Sheffield's game that was plain to see for 5,155-midweek fans. "We took it up another level."

As did Dowd, who has now scored 15 goals in as many matches.

"He has had one of his better years...he was a man possessed," said Beston-Will.

"There was no stopping him. All year long he has brought it. This time of year everybody has upped their game a little bit and he is one of those guys who has done that and it has shown on the scoresheet for him."

Evan Mosey congratulated after his goal pic Dean Woolley.

The asst coach had praise for three-point Martin Látal, whose Ukrainian wife's family are refugees who fled the Russian invasion.

The player has put a "face on" for the benefit of his teammates.

And Curtis Warburton, who came on in goal for the final six minutes, has demonstrated his "crazy" development, said Beston-Will.

Wednesday's game was only 58 seconds old when Marco Vallerand exposed some weak Storm defending to drift in from the left and open the scoring.

Matias Sointu in action against Storm.

Sheffield's aggressive forecheck in the offensive zone delivered a second from Látal at 6:20.

But Manchester pressed, with Frankie Melton testing goaltender Rok Stojanovic and Antonín Boruta winning a foot race with Tyson Fawcett to prevent a goal.

Storm eventually scored though when the net suddenly opened up invitingly for Curtis Hamilton.

Justin Hodgman had been toiling away in transition and his perfect cross-ice pass set up Evan Mosey to restore Sheffield's two-goal advantage.

Robert Dowd chats with Dallas Erhardt.

Visiting goalie Jason Bacashihua faced a tsunami of middle period chances.

He could do nothing about a deft touch from Tanner Eberle from an Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen shot at 26:38.

The Dowd's skill behind the net unearthed Eberle's second of the night for 5-1.

Stojankovic was caught out by a surprise shot from the right-wing which Adam Brady profited from. But by 38:19 it was 6-2, Dowd finding a pocket of space and firing in off the bar. It was the winger's sixth shot of the night and his most deadly.

Steelers needed to keep a calm control of the game in the remaining 20 minutes, and Manchester never looked like they'd get a look-in.

Vallerand went off for treatment after fighting Scott Simmonds in the 52nd minute but a minute later Latal crossed for Dowd to tap in number seven.

Robert Dowd points the way forward.

Goalie Warburton set up in Sheffield's goal at the end and had the joy of making a couple of saves and watching Látal backhand a breakaway for 8-2.

Steelers are now a single point behind Giants.