Visiting Giants make it a bad night for Sheffield Steelers to look back

The trouble about celebrating the past is that sometimes it can take your eye off the present.
Retro players return to Sheffield Arena. Picture: Dean WoolleyRetro players return to Sheffield Arena. Picture: Dean Woolley
Retro players return to Sheffield Arena. Picture: Dean Woolley

Sheffield Steelers had been promoting the return of some of their legends to the ice and it was wonderful on Saturday for fans to see the likes of Nicky Chinn, David Longstaff, Ron Shudra, Ken Priestlay, Andre Malo, Scott Neil and Mike O’Connor back on the Arena pad.

Sadly, that was the only thing for the Orange Army to celebrate, as when the EIHL action started, Steelers lost 5-2 to Belfast Giants.

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Steelers’ final run-in towards the league title, the 11th game before the season-end, was interrupted by a loss that featured a 3-1 middle-period reverse.

It was perhaps a bump in the road towards the title – they lead the race by nine points – and Sheffield has Sunday night to put things right against the same opposition.

Offensively, however, they were taken to the cleaners by Belfast inside the first 27 minutes of Saturday’s game.

Ara Nazarian (17:09) Matthew McLeod (23:47) and Ciaran Long (26:18) rocked the 7,441 Arena fans with goals.

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But when Daniel Tedesco was called for high sticking, there was a chink of light and Marco Vallerand scored his 13th power-play goal of the season.

Steelers goalie Matt Greenfield concedes. Picture: Dean WoolleySteelers goalie Matt Greenfield concedes. Picture: Dean Woolley
Steelers goalie Matt Greenfield concedes. Picture: Dean Woolley

The final minute of the middle period saw calamity befall Sheffield.

Kevin Tansey took a boarding penalty and within 11 seconds Tedesco had got his own back to make it 4-1 to the Giants.

Aaron Fox had some serious coaching to do in the interval.

As good as his side has been this season, could they shut the back door and find four goals?

Belfast Giants celebrate scoring at Sheffield. Picture: Dean WoolleyBelfast Giants celebrate scoring at Sheffield. Picture: Dean Woolley
Belfast Giants celebrate scoring at Sheffield. Picture: Dean Woolley
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Steadfast defence from the Irish restricted Sheffield to a second power-play goal, this time from Colton Saucerman.

Giants then helped themselves to an empty net goal from McLeod to inflate their winning margin.

Fox said there had been uncharacteristic decision-making by his side and complimented Belfast’s former Steelers’ goalie Jackson Whistle for his display while suggesting his own netminder Matthew Greenfield had errored for one of the goals-against.

His players had to “look at themselves in the mirror”.