Storm brewing as Steelers overcome Manchester

Jason Hewitt - Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm 25/10/15
Jason Hewitt - Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm 25/10/15
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Sheffield Steelers fans want to see their team heading in One Direction - and that’s to the top of the Elite League charts.

But if they are going to retain their EIHL championship title this season, there is going to have to be more harmony and consistency throughout the team, injuries or not.

Sheffield, who couldn’t play Giants on Friday as originally planned because of a re-scheduled One Direction gig in Northern Ireland, dipped 4-1 on Saturday making it three defeats out of five games before last night’s 5-4 win at home over Manchester Storm.

So last night, the team was under pressure to come up with the goods - yet a discordant middle period saw them surrender a four goal lead.

Steelers had found the net after 39 seconds when winger Chris Lawrence, kept off the Steeler scoresheet for the first time on Saturday, converted for 1-0.

Steelers extended that advantage when Jeff Legue flashed home a one-timer from distance at 13;01.

And then we witnessed a defensive collapse from Storm, with Jonathan Phillips and Fredrick Vestberg both firing past the beleagured American netminder Zane Kalemba, 26 seconds apart. The session saw Steelers outshoot Storm 13-2.

The first decisive act in the middle session came from the visitors, though, player coach Omar Pacha scoring short handed at 22:26. But instead of stirring on the champions, Storm scored again 84 seconds later, via Mathew Sisca.

It wasn’t what coach Paul Thompson had had in mind at the interval team-talk - and represented the see-saw nature of the season so far.

As did Storm’s third, at 29;28, Vinny Scarsella rocking a curiously vulnerable home side for 4-3. And that was followed three minutes later with the game-tying goal, close-in, from Luke Salazar - ending a dreadful Sheffield defensive sequence where Tyler Plante had conceded four in 10 minutes. It was crazy.

With both defences virtual by-standers, Levi Nelson took an opportunity to reverse the flow, sticking home Steelers fifth of the night at 34;14.

Storm, who lost skipper Matty Davies for 10 minutes for abuse of official, had to go for broke in the final stanza. But Steelers, after such a deeply flawed middle 20 minutes, were intent on a more conservative approach and kept a clean sheet for the rest of the game.

Manchester pulled their goalie in the dying moments but neither side could profit.

* Attendance: 4,736

* Steelers were never in with a shout in Saturday’s showdown in Belfast.

Mitch Ganzak and Mark Garside had put the home side 2-0 in five minutes.

While Fredrik Vestberg set up Mathieu Roy to reduce the arrears ex Steeler Colin Shields made it 3-1 at 14;23.

Jonathan Boxill ended any chance of a comeback in the 50th minute.

Coach Paul Thompson said: “We just can’t start as slow as we did, you can’t play catch up against good teams like Belfast,

“We had enough chances later in the game to take something away from here but didn’t convert. Belfast took their chances and we didn’t.”

*Steelers play Storm again, at Altrincham Ice Arena, on Wednesday.