Sheffield Steelers Continental Cup: Aalborg Pirates 1 Sheffield Steelers 3

Sheffield Steelers took a huge step towards qualifying to the Continental Cup finals in their first group game, with a 3-1 win at host team Aalborg Pirates in Denmark.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 9:05 pm

Every player bought into the tight, defensive strategy and stopped the home side from manufacturing decent chances.

The only negative was a seemingly serious injury to Brendan Connolly.

Already without three injured offensive players Marco Vallerand, Robert Dowd, and Tanner Eberle, other forwards needed to step up.

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Anthony DeLuca with a wrist shot goal in Denmark for Sheffield Steelers against Aalborg Pirates. Pic: Dean Woolley

And that Steelers did in the first period.

Anthony DeLuca, the first player to be afforded any real space in a menacing position, despatched a wrist shot arrowing high above George Sørensen's glove for 1-0. Daine Todd assisted.

Before that, Evan Mosey had clean chances while the defencemen behind him did a superb job closing the door to the Danes, and venturing up the ice when the play allowed.

Loan centreman Andreas Valdix, who had taken part in just three practices with the team, was winning face-offs, the penalty killers were doing their job, Barry Brust was aggressive in goal, and the post came to the rescue when Sheffield needed it on 13 minutes.

The middle period brought a potentially-shattering blow.

Not in the way of a goal, but a right leg or foot injury to Connolly at 37:40, his night and possibly tournament now over.

Sheffield were forced on the back foot for much of the next 20 minutes, DeLuca having the only real chance to add to his earlier strike.

The pressure was intense on the white and orange shirts, yet there were few really obvious scoring chances for the Pirates.

Aalborg hadn't impressed offensively, they had a lot of the puck but rarely looked like scoring.

Eventually, they did equalise though, Kirill Kabanov tipping in Nikolaj Carstensen's point shot.

But Sheffield, as undermanned as they were, made the most of their chances.

A beautiful pass from Sointu gave Martin Latal a 2-1 go-ahead goal, a goal that survived a video review.

Then Sointu scored an empty netter with a second remaining.

A tremendous night for the team - and the travelling fans should be congratulated for their part too.