Braehead Clan have been no slow-coaches this season.
The league leaders started yesterday five points ahead of Sheffield Steelers in the race for the title, having won more and lost less than every other team.
Last night it looked like the wheels were starting to come off, when their bus broke down on the M62, forcing an hour long delay to the crunch game at iceSheffield.
They were granted just a few minutes warm-up before the puck was dropped and eventually faded 2-0 to give hope for a last Steelers’ push for the prize they want more than any other.
Initially, Steelers couldn’t cash in on their ‘bus legs.’ Scott Pitt had the clearest, early opportunity but fired wide for Clan.
Clan dished out a couple of decent hits on the likes of Tyler Mosienko and Colton Fretter while Kyle Jones dealt comfortably with Sheffield’s incursions. Two minutes into the second period Steelers grabbed the initiative with Mosienko firing over Jones’ arm for 1-0.
Goaltender Jones kept the Scots in it, Jeff Legue hit a post and another strike from d-man Ben O’Connor was then washed out by referee Hicks.
But their domination was rewarded when Rob Dowd finished off another Mosienko play at 38;28 to double the home side’s advantage on a Power Play, and an accurate reflection of the balance of play.
Steelers killed a Mathieu Roy penalty that seemed to offer Clan their best route back. Jones stopped Mike Forney and at 57.28. Ryan Finnerty cpulled his goalie but the Tartan brigade were snuffed out.
Sheffield deserved the win over a team on a four game winning league streak.
They have reduced the margin between the pair to three points...and, crucially, have a game in hand. Gerad Adams’ men now have half a dozen League games left starting with Belfast Giants on Saturday.
Three of them are against Cardiff, who are also Sunday’s Challenge Cup Final opponents.
Wednesday 4th March
Nottingham Panthers 4 Hull Stingrays 3
Sheffield Steelers 2 Braehead Clan 0
Saturday 7th March
Cardiff Devils v Dundee Stars – 7.00pm
Coventry Blaze v Edinburgh Capitals – 7.00pm
Fife Flyers v Hull Stingrays – 7.15pm
Nottingham Panthers v Braehead Clan – 7.00pm
Sheffield Steelers v Belfast Giants – 7.00pm
Sunday 8th March
Challenge Cup Final @ Sheffield Arena
Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils – 5.00pm
Dundee Stars v Hull Stingrays – 6.30pm