Ice Hockey: Sheffield Steelers 5 Red Bull Salzburg 2 - Stunning victory against European heavyweights

Jessie Shultz scores for the Steelers, United Kingdom on 11 September 2016. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
Jessie Shultz scores for the Steelers, United Kingdom on 11 September 2016. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
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Steelers pulled off one of the most impressive wins of their 25-year history on Sunday night.

Sheffield turned the hockey world order upside down by beating multi-million pound aristocrats of Red Bull Salzburg 5-2.

Mike Ratchuk gets a facial injury, United Kingdom on 11 September 2016. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Mike Ratchuk gets a facial injury, United Kingdom on 11 September 2016. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Despite going out of the Champions Hockey League qualifying group their players proved themselves every bit as good the speed merchants of Europe, on the night.

Salzburg are a team as sleek and powerful as a Formula One car.

But they came adrift against the heart and desire of a determined Steelers’ side.

Coach Paul Thompson who had been frustrated by his team’s performance in the 8-1 loss in Austria on August 20, can now take the many positives from this display into domestic games.

Steelers had planned to go for Salzburg’s throat early on but the early chances fell to the visitors.

The Austrians went ahead at 6:55 though when Zack Fitzgerald, returning to his end from joining the rush, took a tripping call and Canadian forward John Hughes tapped in a cross.

Sheffield’s spirits raised just 32 seconds later when Jesse Schultz, promoted to the first line, equalised.

But the Austrians repeated their strategy of passing hard across the slot, this time winger Manuel Latusa making it 1-2.

Red Bull continued to press in all areas of the ice and Ervins Mustukovs did well to stop Ryan Duncan adding to their haul.

Mathieu Roy may not have been blessed with the same pace as some of the Salzburg skaters, but he played an enormous part in a 2-0 middle period in which they outshot their illustrious opponents 14-7.

He poked his own rebound just wide, missed by a whisker with a second attempt and then made an equalising goal for Schulltz at 34;50 having motored down the left flank and popped the puck in a danger area.

Sheffield’s offence was looking sharp in what was suddenly the best period of the game for them.

Rob Dowd sent the Arena fans to happy heaven with a go-ahead goal with two seconds left of the period.

And an astonishing third period saw two more home goals.

An unselfish pass from Markus Nilsson set up Luke Ferrara for a short-handed goal at 44;34.

Schultz then scored his hat-trick by rifling high into the net on a breakaway.

While Steelers do not progress in the tournament, it was still an outstanding achievement and a potential sign of progress being made in this elite European competition.

* David Rutherford scored twice, including an overtime winner, as Belfast Giants began their Elite League season with a 3-2 win at Coventry Blaze on Sunday.

Canadian right wing Rutherford put the visitors ahead in the opening period at the SkyDome Arena before ex Steeler Michael Forney restored the away side’s lead following Josh Godfrey’s equaliser.

Jordan Pietrus levelled for the Blaze for a second time in the third, but Rutherford had the final say, grabbing the decisive goal 50 seconds into the additional period.

Braehead Clan suffered a second league defeat in two days as they were beaten 5-1 at last season’s league runners-up Cardiff Devils.

Joey Martin put the Devils in front in the second minute of the opening period at the Ice Arena Wales before Layne Ulmer doubled the advantage just over five minutes later.

Clan pulled one back through Alex Leavitt in the second period, but Matt Myers restored the Devils’ two-goal lead and Jake Morissette added two more.

The Panthers saw their winning start to the new season end as they were beaten 4-1 at Fife Flyers in Sunday’s final game.

The reigning play-off champions, who won at Dundee Stars on Friday and Braehead on Saturday, levelled through Jeff Brown in the third period at the Fife Ice Arena after Chase Schaber fired the hosts ahead in the second.

Mathew Sisca put the Flyers back in front 10 minutes from the end before Justin Fox and Ryan Dingle sealed victory for the Scottish side.

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