Sheffield Steelers v Belfast Giants - Steelers rack up seven and Barry Brust hits hard

Steelers' coach Aaron Fox believes Barry Brust was wrongly penalised for making a hit few people who witnessed it will ever forget.

Sunday, 7th November 2021, 8:51 am
Barry Brust on form for Sheffield Steelers in their 7-1 win over Belfast Giants on Saturday. Picture: Hayley Roberts

You don't often see a goalie go behind his crease and decorate the plexi glass with an opponent quite as dramatically as Sheffield's custodian did.

The 6,238 crowd and his coach loved it, team-mate Justin Hodgman thought it hilarious...but the officials were not so amused.

Brust called for interference. And Steelers had to kill a 5-on-3 penalty after Tanner Eberle was called for boarding, but they did so to preserve their 5-1 lead before running out 7-1 winners.

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So in the great scheme of things, the thunderous body check - which Fox insisted was within the rules of the game - was not all that significant. However, it will likely pass into Arena folklore and strengthen the growing attachment between the Orange Army and Brust.

Giants had been 5-0 EIHL regular-season winners at Nottingham Panthers in their last match, while Sheffield had gone one better against Fife Flyers.

So the fans had expected a lively start - and they got one, in an extraordinary opening period.

The Northern Irish competed on even terms for the first 10 minutes, David Goodwin wasting a clear chance.

When Evan Mosey's calm and clever stickwork engineered a 1-0 lead at 3:19, Belfast responded 53 seconds with a JJ Piccinich equaliser.

It was all very tight.

But a sensational three-goals-in three minutes for Sheffield rocked Adam Keefe's side.

Anthony DeLuca started the landslide with a snapshot from the left circle.

With Giants' Kevin Raine called for holding Mosey, Marco Vallerand then exploited a huge hole in the visitors' defence.

Eberle, who had been disappointed with three previous chances including a breakaway, then made it 4-1.

Belfast called a time out, where questions must have been asked about why their play had become so passive.

Mark Cooper started throwing his weight around, but Sheffield merely widened their advantage when defenceman Kevin Schulze powered in number five at 19:23.

Sheffield, may have failed to have capitalised on a 5-on-3 power play in the last period, but more importantly, they denied Belfast the opportunities to drag themselves back.

The frustration endured by Belfast manifested itself when Sam Ruopp was ejected at 56:28.

The power play delivered goal number six, despatched by Matias Sointu.

Then Davey Phillips rubbed Sheffield's superiority in even more with a shot through traffic to end the night on a high note.

After the game, Fox said Brust and Piccinich both had their sticks on the puck when the collision happened: "It was a clean play in my opinion."

Overall, his team had been ready to battle and had got rewarded for stretching out Belfast's defence, he said.