Sheffield Steelers' road warriors maintain 14-point gap at the top of the table

The hallmark of a championship-winning team isn't always represented by the showboat triumphs of big wins.
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It is often about collecting maximum points when the side is not quite at its best.

Sheffield displayed that characteristic at Guildford Flames' rink on Sunday.

They were slightly below-par for 40 minutes.

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But, as they tend to do, they turned on the jets in the final session, which they won 3-0, to claim a 4-2 victory.

Coach Aaron Fox admitted his team was "pretty fortunate" to be heading back north with their 34th league win of the season out of 38 attempts.

Goaltender Matt Greenfield had kept Sheffield in the match (92.86 percent save ratio) until they "found their legs and found our best" in the final 20 minutes.

"It was an important win for us, but (we're) just pretty happy to just be getting back on that bus with the points" said the coach.

Scott Allen and Matt Greenfield shore up their goal at GuildfordScott Allen and Matt Greenfield shore up their goal at Guildford
Scott Allen and Matt Greenfield shore up their goal at Guildford
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Steelers, who beat Nottingham Panthers 6-4, at home on Saturday to guarantee a playoff spot, were in for a trying first period in Surrey.

Josh Nicholls, scorer of two goals the night before, thought he added another but it didn't survive a VAR check.

Flames hit the post twice and Colton Saucerman and Turner Ripplinger fought behind the Steelers goal.

Saucerman made his presence known again, assisting on a Marco Vallerand power play goal on 14 minutes.

Colton Saucerman scrapping at GuildfordColton Saucerman scrapping at Guildford
Colton Saucerman scrapping at Guildford
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But again it wasn't plain sailing and two minutes later Steven McParland levelled.

By the end of the first, the officials had called 26 minutes of penalties.

Guildford were certainly up for causing an upset, against the runaway league leaders, with Peter Crinella landing a big hit on Niklas Nevalainen and then putting Flames 2-1 up, much to the delight of most of the 1,905 fans.

Then came the push-back that Flames' coach Paul Dixon had feared.

Aaron Fox studying real-time videoAaron Fox studying real-time video
Aaron Fox studying real-time video
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Mikko Juusola tied the game up with 10 minutes to spare, followed by Nicholls' third of the weekend, and an empty netter from Saucerman.

The value of that final session at the Spectrum cannot be overstated.

Cardiff Devils, the only team with a prayer of catching Steelers, thumped Dundee Stars 6-3 away from home, on the same night.

Steelers now must set their sights on a trip to Wales this coming weekend.

They will be full of confidence - astonishingly they have lost only once in 24 league and Challenge Cup road trips this EIHL season.