Steelers can still tot up enough points to win the title, says maths teacher!

Keeton Ellerby v Linden SpringerKeeton Ellerby v Linden Springer
Keeton Ellerby v Linden Springer
In the split second it took for the one decisive penalty shot of the night to zip past Rok Stojanovic, Sheffield Steelers' wait to end a six year interlude for the EIHL league title suddenly looked further away than ever.

But a morale-boosting message came quickly and from the unlikely source of... a maths teacher.

Jonathan Fearnley had watched Steelers fail to score in seven penalty shot attempts at Manchester Storm, having to settle for a single point on Sunday night when defenceman Noah Dalmas, playing only his 13th League game for the North West side, scored to take the game 4-3.

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The strike meant Belfast Giants now have a three-point lead at the top of the table.

Fearnley, who commentates for the club on web streams, was both pragmatic and optimistic when he posted on twitter: "All that's changed with today's point is that 2 of those (weekend) wins against Belfast have to be in regulation."

The prospect of inflicting back-to-back regulation wins this coming weekend against the EIHL's super-hot form team might have looked a far cry at the moment Dalmas struck.

And of Sheffield's 36 wins in the league this season, Steelers have needed the post-60 minutes extra point on six occasions - more than any other team.

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But Fearnley also pointed out that while winning two out of three fixtures against Belfast in regulation would be a big ask, Steelers have already accomplised that, this season.

Noah Delmas scores his penalty shot.Noah Delmas scores his penalty shot.
Noah Delmas scores his penalty shot.

While Steelers were losing in Altrincham, Giants were shutting out Guildford Flames 5-0.

Sheffield now need to win their game in hand on Wednesday, when they seek revenge over Manchester, at the Arena.

Steelers skipper Jonathan Phillips doesn't expect an easy ride against Storm on home ice.

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The winger, who played his 1,100th game in all competitions on Sunday, said Storm were in a "dogfight" to finish as high up the table as possible.

Jonathan FearnleyJonathan Fearnley
Jonathan Fearnley

"They are a dangerous team - you know you are always in a game, in a battle, we have got to make sure we are ready and focused.

"They are obviously a desperate team, as are we, trying to pick up points. You can never underestimate a team like that."

As for Belfast's looming visit, Phillips said his team had to concentrate on the Saturday game only, and then take it from there.

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"We have just got to look at ourselves, we have to try to make sure the things we do we do well."

A referee stops a flashpoint at the Storm v Steelers game.A referee stops a flashpoint at the Storm v Steelers game.
A referee stops a flashpoint at the Storm v Steelers game.

The scent of victory appears to be heavy on the nostrils of Belfast fans, at this moment.

The Belfast Telegraph describes the situation slightly different than Sheffield's resident maths teacher: "They (Giants) have talked for so long about how it is a best-of series against the Steelers to win the title – two wins next weekend and it’s all theirs,” wrote Adam McKendry.