Sheffield Steelers 5 Guildford Flames 3: Steelers park anger over Michael Davies ban to secure win
Sheffield Steelers completed their first match without six-game ban forward Michael Davies with a 5-3 win over Guildford Flames.
The South Yorkshire club is seething at the punishment handed out to Davies, who is regarded as disciplinary "repeat offender" by the Elite League.
The American will miss more than half the crucial November programme, all of them League games.
On Saturday night at Sheffield Arena, with top-scorer Marco Vallerand back in the side after injury, Steelers were four goals to the good after 20 minutes.
They wilted for a while, but did enough to win.
At the start, Flames had looked promising offensively, with Mike Will and Brett Ferguson going close and a brilliant Ben O'Connor's back-check preventing danger.
But defensively the southern side were quick to collapse.
They conceded on their first penalty kill, Brendan Connolly putting in some creative work for Vallerand to confirm his return.
Fifty seconds later, Jonathan Phillips notched his second goal in two games.
If that wasn't bad enough for the visitors, they then let in two more, in a shocking 35-second spell for them.
First, Connolly netted for the first time after six games without, and then d-man James Bettauer roofed the puck after a Wouter Peeters' rebound.
A penalty-strewn middle period tended to interrupt the flow, while Flames' increased work-rate meant that the home fans could exercise their vocal cords once more in praise of their Czech goalie, Tomas Duba.
Bettauer's cannon from the right point was Steelers' only marker, as Vallerand and Aaron Brocklehurst both missed breakaway opportunities.
Guildford, who had arrived in the city six points adrift of the league-leading Steelers and labouring two places off the bottom, managed to beat Duba though when defenceman Corbin Baldwin ventured forward at 32;38.
And they won the period when TJ Foster added another to make the score 5-2 at the second interval.
Flames scored their third consecutive, unanswered goal on 45 minutes.
O'Connor had suffered a facial injury on the end boards and he and his team-mates were unable to stop Ian Watters, assisted by Kruise Reddick, Jordan Rowley, for 5-3.
Sheffield had gone off the boil and were thankful they had built up such an early lead.
They remain top of the league, though, with another two points in the bank.