Sheffield Steelers 6 Guildford Flames 2: Steelers roll back the years in front of bumper crowd

Alex Dampier was the coach the last time Sheffield Steelers attracted three consecutive home gates of 8,000-plus.
Jonas Liwing defends against Guildford. Picture: Hayley RobertsJonas Liwing defends against Guildford. Picture: Hayley Roberts
Jonas Liwing defends against Guildford. Picture: Hayley Roberts

That was way back in the mists of 1995.

But flash forward to tonight, at the same Sheffield Arena, and Steelers added 9,118 more bums on seats to previous, packed festive period games against Manchester Storm and Nottingham Panthers.

Today's Steeler team really rolled back the years, too.

Anthony Deluca gets stuck inAnthony Deluca gets stuck in
Anthony Deluca gets stuck in

They carved out an emphatic 6-2 victory, despite injuries to Ben O'Connor and Marco Vallerand, who both joined the longer-stay patients like Robert Dowd on the sidelines.

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Visitors Guildford Flames had so wanted to be party-poopers.

And they certainly put a dint in the atmosphere when they took the lead.

Steelers' centre John Armstrong's pass was intercepted in the offensive zone and top goal scorer Ian Watters scored on the counter attack, unassisted, at 7:41.

Tomas Duba had stopped a rocket shot from Calle Ackered before that and Brett Ferguson could have made it 2-0 just after it.

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But Sheffield thrilled the bumper crowd with an equaliser at 8:55.

The goal was a thing of beauty, with Marek Troncinksy's sweet pass giving Brendan Connolly the chance.

His shot was partially saved by Travis Fullerton, but there was enough force in the shot to see it over the line.

Connolly has now scored at least a point in every one of his last 21 League games.

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The middle period was a story of Steelers' special teams and goaltending excellence.

Jonas Liwing was credited with only his second goal of the season on the Power Play at 27:48 and two minutes later it was 3-1 with Lucas Sandstrom's PP goal just going far enough over the line to clear a video review.

But a lot of energy had to go into protecting the lead, much of it from Duba in goal.

He stopped a Jamie Crooks penalty shot and followed that up by denying another big drive from Ackered.

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Steelers' penalty killers out on a master class of defending for 72 seconds, too.

Duba started the final period as he had the previous two, this time stopping Ben Davies.

It was an important block because it was followed by a goal at the other end for Tanner Eberle, which effectively sealed the points.

Anthony DeLuca scored a penalty shot and that was followed by a sixth from Josef Hrabal.

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With seven minutes to go, Crooks finally got on the scoresheet for Flames.

And before the final hooter Curtis Warburton made his debut as a substitute goalie for Duba.

A great night made all the sweeter by Cardiff Devils losing to Manchester Storm.