Steelers' 9-0 romp

Edinburgh 0 Sheffield Steelers 9

RED-HOT Sheffield Steelers head into Wednesday's crunch clash with high-flying Cardiff Devils after cruising to a 9-0 victory over under-strength Edinburgh Capitals at Murrayfield last night.

Steelers, who had previously won twice at the Riversdale rink, made it a treble whammy on their final regular season visit to Scotland's Capital this term.

And the win means Sheffield have won all five of their jousts with Scott Neil's side which has been rocked by a mass exodus in recent weeks.

Top marksman Adam Taylor and leading defenceman Jacques Perreault are the latest to have taken the exit route from the cash-strapped combine following Alex Kim, Chris St Jacques, David Lomas and Daniel Madsen.

Former Steelers star, Neil, has aken over the coaching from Brad Gratton who also quit the club who are now down to five imports and prop up the ten-strong league table following a 10-2 hammering at fellow-strugglers, Newcastle Vipers, on Saturday night.

Capitals, however, came out flying and Jeff Hutchins forced Ervins Mustukovs into a reflex save early on.

Then Hutchins forced the netminder to block a close-in shot but it was not one-way traffic and Ashley Tait let fly only to see Capitals' netminder Scott Reid block.

The scoreline was level at the break but Sheffield upped a gear in the second spell, and changed their netminder, giving Jeff Woolhouse some valuable ice time. Kevin Bolibruck broke the deadlock with a shot from just inside the blue line after two minutes and Ashley Tait made it 2-0 after a slick passing move only 51 seconds later.

Sheffield powered forward in search of more but Cingel shot wide after a break down the right wing.

The pressure on Capitals was, however, maintained and it was no surprise when Derek Campbell netted No 3 in the 30th minute from close-in. Capitals complained to referee Moray Hanson that Joey Talbot was in the crease but the protests were waved away.

And it was 4-0 two minutes later when Rod Sarich danced around three Capitals defencemen and fed Talbot who fired home off a post.

Steelers snipers Rob Globke, Talbot and Jason Hewitt were in no mood to feel sympathy for the struggling home side and piled on the pressure.

Capitals, backed by a dwindling number of diehard fans, and bolstered by two Scottish National League players from Kilmarnock, called-up at the last-minute, continued to work hard.

But class will out and Globke intervened. He set up two goals in 12 seconds to help move Steelers 6-0 ahead in the 50th minute. The first was snapped up by Ben Simon after a neat move and the second by Neil Clarke.

Hewitt made it 7-0 after 53 minutes following a flowing move started in Sheffield's own end and Campbell slotted No 8 with less than five minutes left.

And the embarrassment continued when Neil Clarke slotted No 9 short-handed following a Globke assist in the 56th minute. Neil Abel, Sheffield's Kirkcaldy-born bench coach, said: "Wednesday is our biggest game of the season.

"They are going really well having won 18 straight games but they'll have to adjust to our big ice surface.

"If everybody gives 100 per cent then we could win the game. It's a huge game in the title race and I believe it's a game we must win to stay in with a chance."

Looking back at the Edinburgh game he said: "We travelled with a full-strength squad aiming to do a professional job on Capitals.

"We came for two points. Our concern was winning, not about what is happening to other teams.

"We were interested in two points and that's what we achieved."

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