Moving tribute to Humboldt Broncos as Sheffield Steeldogs tie in Cup Final first leg

Steeldogs Humboldt tribute: Pic by Peter Best Photography
Steeldogs Humboldt tribute: Pic by Peter Best Photography
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Sheffield Steeldogs hopes of a second trophy hang in the balance after a draw in the first leg of the National Cup Final.

Before the match started, a moving tribute was paid to the players from the Humboldt Broncos who died when their bus crashed on the way to a game over the weekend.

Sheffield Steeldogs Cup Final first leg, pic by Scott Antcliffe

Sheffield Steeldogs Cup Final first leg, pic by Scott Antcliffe

The Broncos captain, Logan Schatz, who was one of the victims, had played at iceSheffield in a tournament in 2016. His jersey was hung on the back of the Steeldogs bench and all the team had “Humboldt Strong” on their jerseys.

The game wasn’t the smoothest affair, punctuated by Swindon’s attempts to unsettle Milan Kolena with some very physical play.

The opening goal came on the power play at 20:24, with Tim Smith scoring at the back post. Cam Brownley made it 2-0 with another goal scored with the extra man soon after the halfway mark in the game.

The Wildcats were rested having missed the playoff finals and that freshness told in the final period but only after Adrian Palak nearly added a third for the Steeldogs but hit the post.

Steeldogs on the attack

Steeldogs on the attack

Aaron Nell, who had already scored more than 100 points this season, deflected the puck past Zimozdra in the 52nd minute before a Chris Jones power play marker tied the score as the game finished all square at 2-2.

The second leg will be played on Sunday and with home advantage and a good record in cup games, Swindon will be strong favourites to win.

However the Steeldogs have defied the odds several times during this campaign and will head to Wiltshire determined to finish the season on a high.

Action shot from Scott Antcliffe

Action shot from Scott Antcliffe