Sheffield Steeldogs are looking forward to their first appearance in a Final since 2012.
Last weekend, they took on the Hull Pirates over two legs for a place in the National Cup final.
The home leg was a typically feisty encounter and whilst there wasn’t a fight, there was lots of niggle, some dubious hits and Lloyd Gibson finished the night missing a tooth after a high stick.
Milan Kolena fired a rocket past Adam Long to open the scoring 30 seconds in to the game. Cameron Brownley stunned the visitors further with a short-handed strike at 6:17 and it looked like the Dogs had Jason Hewitt’s team on the ropes.
The Pirates got on the board soon after and in an even, high paced encounter they eventually levelled early in the final period. Sheffield got a third through Brownley to take a one goal advantage into the second leg.
Hull have had much the better of recent meetings between the two sides and when they scored first, that pattern looked like continuing.
However, the Steeldogs performance over the second and third sessions was amongst the best of this or any other season. Ashley Calvert scored with a straight shot that was past Long before he had a chance to react.
Liam Charnock set Adrian Palak up for a sweet goal that put Sheffield ahead on the night and two up on aggregate.
Dmitri Zimozdra faced an onslaught but was in prime form and supported by a cast of scrambling d-men and forwards back-checking. They turned away wave after wave of Hull attacks and when Kolena broke through to add a third goal, it killed off the tie.
The Steeldogs won 6-3 on aggregate and are through to the final where they will meet Swindon or Telford.
Sunday night in Whitley Bay was a game too far for the Dogs. Playing their third game in three nights against a fresh Warriors team, they had the better of the first 40 minutes but ended up losing 4-1 as the schedule caught up with them.
Results elsewhere means Telford are top (on games won) with Hull one point back.
Every remaining league fixture will be crucial if Sheffield are to maintain their challenge, starting on Saturday when the Nottingham Lions come to iceSheffield for a 7:30 face-off.