Steelers Storm clear at the top after win over Manchester

Sheffield Steelers stormed two points clear of Manchester at the top of the table after a 10-goal thriller in the EIHL Series.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 9:54 am

Steelers took the lead four times over the Storm but faced a struggle at times to shake off a dogged opponent.

Robert Dowd and Jérémy Beaudry both bagged a brace, but Davey Phillips was thrown out of the game for a check from behind.

Sheffield's penalty killing was a huge factor in gaining two more points.

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The game was 32 minutes late starting, but Steelers were hardly distracted, scoring with their first shot, Dowd embarrassing Manchester's Canadian 'keeper Sean Bonar with a cute backhander.

However Storm copied that process; in their first attempt Scott Simmonds tipped in Josh Batch's shot through the legs of Ben Churchfield.

Then another first - the game's first power play and one which put Sheffield in front again.

Sheffield have been prolific offensively - they had scored 15 goals in their last two outings - and their second of the night on the Nottingham pad was a cracker, a full-blooded slapshot from Beaudry.

Sheffield Steelers' Robert Dowd congratulated after finding the net

The game boiled over after Maxime Fortier boarded Tanner Eberle - Sam Jones tearing into the Storm player as revenge.

On the resulting Steeler power play, Beaudry scored a similar blast and at 3-1 Steelers appeared to be cruising.

But Ryan Finnerty's team, rested after a Saturday night off, potted a short-range reply at 18:11, through Jacob Lundell Noer.

Storm had previously tweeted the game was "going to be a fun one" but they went into the first interval probably happy they were only one down.

Jeremy Beaudry, two first period goals.

In fact, they were level (3-3) at 26:42 with a speculative effort from Dallas Ehrhardt finding a short-side gap.

Sheffield went off the boil, but a persistent piece of play from Josef Mikyska, turned defence into attack and that led directly to Dowd firing in his second of the night.

It was even - too even for Sheffield's perspective, who had lost their way at time and that wasn't helped when Davey Phillips was thrown out for checking Simmonds from behind.

Storm had plenty of power play time and equalised again (4-4) through Ben Lake.

Aaron Fox: pic by Dean Woolley

But then, the key moment of the game: Jason Hewitt slotting home after a short-handed counter attack featuring Kevin Schulze and Connolly.

Adrian Saxrud Danielsen neatly drifted past Erhardt to snipe high to gift-wrap the points.

On Saturday, Steelers shocked Nottingham with three goals in the two opening minutes (Eberle, Olden, Hewitt) with Olden and Beaudry adding two more before Panthers skulked off for the first period.

They had been an embarrassment and came out for the second with more intent, scoring after their first sustained period of offensive play.

Notts were more assertive but could still only tie the period 2-2, with Waller and Kirk claiming Sheffield's goals.

Panthers scored a third, fair reward for their forechecking and improved overall play, although Sam Jones and Josef Mikyska both struck the pipework.

Robert Dowd is congratulated after finding the net for one of his two goals

Sheffield's lead was reduced to 7-4 when they were caught two on one at the back - punishment for committing too many men forward when they didn't need to.

But a clever pass from Saxrud Danielsen set up high-energy Eberle for his second of the night.Steelers renew their acquaintance with Coventry Blaze on Tuesday.