Coventry Blaze 1-3 Sheffield Steelers: goalie robbed of clean sheet

Face off Steelers v Coventry
Face off Steelers v Coventry
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Sheffield Steelers goalie Ervins Mustukovs was robbed of a shut out - but his side still won 3-1 at Coventry Blaze.

The netminder was looking odds-on for his first clean sheet of the season.

But as we have seen previously in his campaign, he was foiled in the final seconds, Barry Almeida scoring a consolation at 59;34.

The victory didn’t help close the gap on second-place Belfast Giants, who beat Edinburgh Capitals 3-0 earlier in the evening, but was a welcome away win, given the side had lost their previous three road games.

Paul Thompson’s side’s Power Play had gone AWOL in the previous four games.

But when Coventry d-man Josh Godfrey took a tripping call at 11:16, the special team clicked, Mathieu Roy playing a part in Colton Fretter’s goal, for 1-0.

Yorkshire-Midlands action on ice

Yorkshire-Midlands action on ice

The Roy/Fretter combo struck again 15 seconds before the first interval when the former snapped a second effort home, on the back hand.

Blaze goalie Brian Stewart has having to fend off efforts from Fretter and Levi Nelson, while Mustukovs was inviting admiring glances from some home fans with his acrobatics - the Latvian ensuring the middle period was goalless.

Sheffield started the third period again on the penalty-kill defensive.

Nelson, not always recognised for his defensive output, was one of several Steelers players prepared to pay a price blocking shots and protecting the visitors’ slot.

Blaze circled like hungry wolves but Mustukovs, in particular, thrive on pressure situations before and Sheffield’s Markus Nilsson almost made it three when his shot pinged the bar, while his side was short-handed.

Stewart was pulled from his net by the home side at 57:30.

They were immediately punished by an empty net goal from Nelson at 58;55.

The shut out was ruined when Almeida netted with 26 seconds left.

Steelers now have to prepare for the Boxing Day bonanza with Nottingham Panthers, (4pm) which will attract 9,300 fans.