Sheffield Steelers 7 Manchester Storm 0: Anthony DeLuca hits four-goal salvo in big Boxing Day win
An astonishing personal performance from four-goal winger Anthony DeLuca piloted Sheffield Steelers to a 7-0 Boxing Day massacre of Manchester Storm.
Top of the League Steelers, unbeaten in the previous six games, were unstoppable against their cross-Pennine rivals.
While there were some great performances throughout the line up, DeLuca has to be recognised for his jaw-dropping points tally - he had a hand in all the goals.
With title rivals having games-in-hand, it had been important for Sheffield to keep up their momemtum - and they certainly did against Storm, in front of 8,427 fans at the Arena.
The match was their 25th victory in both League and Cup competition and their ninth home win out of 10.
December 26 is traditionally a 'must-see' Sheffield v Nottingham Panthers diary entry.
A lack of rink availability meant that Manchester were at the House of Steel instead.
The teams have played each other seven times already this season.
But the atmosphere was lively enough at the House of Steel at puck-drop.
Storm were their own worst enemies, straight away.
Jared Aulin finished tamely with a near post effort and then Raymond Grewal errored to allow DeLuca in on goal.
DeLuca is super-sharp in front of net and his back-hand was too hot to handle for goalie Matt Ginn, at 3:15.
Ginn looked slow, glove-side, when Jonathan Phillips back-handed a pass to DeLuca and he fired high into the net for 2-0 at 5:24.
It was DeLuca's ninth point in the last six outings.
It could have been a wider goal advantage for Sheffield, when Eric Meland ventured forward to grab his rebound off the back boards and Marco Vallerand flashed wide on a three-on-one rush.
Steelers had more than made up for the offensive absences of John Armstrong and Robert Dowd.
And they continued to punish Storm in the middle period.
DeLuca refused to give up on a chase for the puck, took a tumble, found the puck at his feet and then passed for Brendan Connolly to sweep in.
DeLuca was a provider again as Vallerand made it 4-0 at 37:12.
Ironically, Manchester had played better in the middle section, but their inability to score on two power plays hurt them, as did Tomas Duba's poise between the posts.DeLuca continued his crusade in the final period, assisting on Vallerand's second of the night.
It prompted soured Manchester fans to chant: "You're nothing special - we lose every week."
But it was certainly special for DeLuca who converted a penalty shot for 6-0 at 44:47 and then thrashed in a seventh on the Power Play at 54:39.
And goalie Duba could celebrate his third shut out of the season.