Sheffield Steelers v Glasgow Clan: Steelers forced to work hard for another win

Sheffield Steelers' Evan Mosey redirects wideSheffield Steelers' Evan Mosey redirects wide
Sheffield Steelers' Evan Mosey redirects wide
Steelers maintained their pursuit of the EIHL title with a super-tight win over a resolute and feisty Glasgow Clan.

It was a gritty game but the 3-2 result keeps Sheffield nudging ever closer towards silverware.

Marco Vallerand, the target for some heavy attention from Clan, scored the winner.

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Steelers had skipper Jonathan Phillips back from injury. But with third-string goalie Curtis Warburton unavailable Sheffield had to dress both import goalies, which meant they had to rest an overseas skater.

That misfortune fell to luckless Tommaso Traversa, who had scored for Steelers the night before.

Glasgow had been late arrivals to the Arena and their coach Malcolm Cameron wanted more time than he was afforded, to shake off the bus legs.

They had been beaten at home by Coventry Blaze on Saturday and were brimming with aggression.

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Defencemen Tim Shoup, Cody Sol and Mitch Jones went out of their way to provoke players like Vallerand.

Fisticuffs in the Sheffield Steelers v Glasgow Clan gameFisticuffs in the Sheffield Steelers v Glasgow Clan game
Fisticuffs in the Sheffield Steelers v Glasgow Clan game

While Steelers dominated the puck, they found it hard to shake off Clan's defensive cloak, and engineered few quality chances in the goalless first session, featuring 14 penalty minutes.

Justin Hodgman came close when he swivelled and fired a couple of inches wide, while Evan Mosey should have done better with a Tanner Eberle pass. At the other end, home goalie Rok Stoanovic was nowhere near as busy Shane Starrett, but the Slovenian glove-saved well when Nolan LaPorte threatened.

Hodgman opened the middle period with an easy tap-in for 1-0, hinting at a possible change in Glasgow's approach.

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Clan remained the agitators, with Colton Yellow Horn cross-checking Vojtech Polak repeatedly off the puck.

Tussle among Steelers and Clan playersTussle among Steelers and Clan players
Tussle among Steelers and Clan players

They levelled at 30:51 on the power play, though. With Phillips losing his stick during the attempted penalty kill, LaPorte had the opportunity to shoot past Stojanovic.

Sheffield regrouped well in front of their 7448 supporters, though, and Sam Jones roofed the puck for 2-1 just before the second intermission.

Quite how this pressure cooker game would go, though, was anybody's guess.

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Clan had a say in that at 44:24 when Guillaume Gauthier nipped around Davey Phillips to set up Braylon Shmyr for 2-2.

They had found some joy down Steelers' left flank and continued to try that route.

But Vallerand got the goal he and his team desperately wanted with a medium-range wrist shot, giving Steelers the lead for a third time at 54:42.

Glasgow pulled their goalie but Sheffield had enough in the tank to take the points.

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*On Saturday, 7,382 fans witnessed the latest Sheffield win over Manchester Storm, a relatively comfortable 5-2 at the Arena. Marco Vallerand has scored five goals in the five straight wins over Storm, the winger seems impossible for them to tie down.

The other goal snipers were Hodgman, Traversa, Vojtech Polák and Matias Sointu.

It was Sheffield's 20th regulation two points of the campaign.

Steelers lock horns with Glasgow again on Wednesday, away.