Sheffield Steelers 3-2 Glasgow Clan (OT): Sam Jones credits Steelers' goalie for his 'spreadeagle' move

Sometimes you don't have to score a goal, make a hit, or thread the perfect pass to influence a match result.

Thursday, 27th January 2022, 9:44 am

Take Sam Jones, the young Brummy defenceman who has blossomed in the extra ice time created by Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen's injury absence.

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At a critical moment in Steelers' 3-2 overtime win over Glasgow Clan on Wednesday, Sheffield were caught on a 3-on-1 break after over-committing offensively.

That 'one' was Jones. The 24-year-old held his calm and at the right moment spreadeagled his body across the pad, doing just enough for the Scottish attackers to fumble their raid.

Jones said situations like that are stressful, but added that veteran goalie Barry Brust's influence training helped him prepare for the big moment.

"Brusty has done really well with me, he's coached me through that. He's gone through his processes as a goalie; what he's thinking and what he'd prefer" said Jones.

"On a 3-on-1 your chances are pretty limited. If you are standing up, it's a lot easier for him (opponent) to go back door.

Justin Hodgman: match winner. Pic Dean Woolley

"As soon as it goes to either side you go and attack, and that's what Brusty has been very good for me, talking to me a lot. When it happened I could hear Brusty yelling 'Go' behind me because we'd talked about it so much this year.

"I credit Brusty for that, we've spent a lot of time analysing those situations. He is very vocal on the ice; he helps the young guys out and shows us what to do."

It was an ugly win, but one that put Sheffield two points ahead of Cardiff Devils in the EIHL table, (three games in hand.)

Coach Aaron Fox said Clan had come to "park the bus."

Sam Jones gets stuck into Mathieu Roy. Pic Dean Woolley

That style of play seduces teams to throw players forward and Sheffield were caught on the counter several times.

Glasgow's disciplined forecheck ensured they finished 1-0 up at the interval, Rodney Southam's shot ricochetting off Daine Todd and under Brust's armpit.

Clan, oozing with confidence after a four-game win streak, engineered few more chances, but they were difficult to unpick.

Starrett's chest was in for a pummeling after the break.

Marco Vallerand battling on the ice pad Pic Dean Woolley.

Tanner Eberle and Keeton Ellerby ploughed the puck into him. Then Marco Vallerand hit the American in a similar area, the rebound dropping to speedy defenceman Evan Mosey who equalised.

Steelers were much more intense offensively, Robert Dowd thinking he'd scored but the referee denied him, penalising Matias Sointu for holding Liam Stenton.

Sheffield got the goal their possession deserved, (around 80-20% according to Fox) Vallerand's linemates setting him up at 47:36.

Yet a delightful toe-drag around Todd, by Guillaume Gauthier, and a shot high into Brust's net levelled again, 2-2, at 53:19.

Mitch Jones struck Sheffield's post and the home side had to kill a penalty with four nervous minutes left.

Overtime saw man of the match Justin Hodgman tickled the puck over Starrett's goal line - the easiest goal he'll ever score. And a big one in terms of his club's title aspirations.

Afterwards, Coach Fox said he was "shocked" at some refereeing decisions in the game, claiming Clan "hooked, held, slashed all night long" with no punishment.