Steelers match report: Steelers 4 Dundee Stars 0

Jason Hewitt celebrates
Jason Hewitt celebrates
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Steelers can pencil in a semi-final Challenge Cup date after a 4-0 humbling of Dundee Stars in the quarter-final first leg.

While Sunday’s decider is no formality, the team appears to have done more than enough to go on and meet Nottingham Panthers.

Last night Sheffield looked streets ahead of a team currently above them in the league standings.

It was another positive sign as Sheffield continued their impressive run,

Steelers coach Doug Christiansen, who left out Max Lacroix, saw his side open the scoring on 2:46. Drew Fata cleaned up around his own net and launched a rush, the puck tucked away by Jeff Legue.

Dundee’s roster includes the league’s second top scorer Nico Sacchetti and the division’s second most successful goalie, Dan Bakala and both were on form in a quicksilver first session.

Frank Doyle had to close Sacchetti down while Bakala kept out a strong effort from Jason Hewitt.

Dundee have some good stick-handling technicians but they found it hard to make ground on Sheffield’s ferocious three-line forecheck. The Arena costs £12,000 to hire for such events, and it was a sparse crowd, given the midweek date. But those there were in for a superb middle session.

Rob Sirianni gave a lesson in the art of finishing on 25:02. In one attacking sequence he tipped a shot wide, but when Drew Fata smashed it low he got more of his stick on it, diverting it past Bakala for 2-0.

Hewitt then ended his barren scoring spell. Tim Spencer rebounded the puck off Bakala, Jonathan Phillips looped it onwards, and Hewitt did the rest.

It could have been more with Rob Dowd striking a post. Stars were tiring noticeably in their own zone - Rory Rawlyk almost unable to stand after one shift.

They were run ragged in the last period and fortunate to concede just once more, Stefan Meyer adding to his personal haul. Another strike was disallowed.

Dundee’s player-coach Jeff Hutchins says home form has been a big factor in their successful season so far...but it will have to be pretty good to see them upset Steelers now. First though, Steelers have to beat Belfast Giants on Saturday - and whittle away at the league leaders’ 15 point advantage.