Manchester Storm find their mojo at Sheffield's 'House of Horrors'

There can't have been many of the 7,634 fans filing into Sheffield Arena who hadn't forseen Saturday night's match as anything other than a routine Steelers' win.
Aaron Fox (Photo: Dean Woolley)Aaron Fox (Photo: Dean Woolley)
Aaron Fox (Photo: Dean Woolley)

Maybe, some of the players subconsciously felt the same. But midtable Manchester Storm had other ideas.

They won two periods and drew one, bravely blocked Sheffield's offensive might, and withstood a late barrage to deliver them their best result of the season and their first victory in Broughton Lane for six years.

Manchester Storm secured a surprise win in SheffieldManchester Storm secured a surprise win in Sheffield
Manchester Storm secured a surprise win in Sheffield
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For Steelers, without Scott Allen and Robert Dowd, it was their first home defeat in 16 games.

The result means they have lost two out of their last three,  dropping back to a still-healthy nine-point lead (and a game in hand) over second-place Cardiff Devils.

Storm boss Matt Ginn said celebrations had been a long time coming, adding: "It has been a House of Horrors for us" but complimented his side for 60 minutes of effort, insisting they had earned some puck luck around the net.

Steelers coach Aaron Fox admitted his top-of-the-league squad had not been at their best and mentioned the mental and physical grind of 51 games with no break.

An empty net goal for Critchlow (Photo: Dean Woolley)An empty net goal for Critchlow (Photo: Dean Woolley)
An empty net goal for Critchlow (Photo: Dean Woolley)
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Mid-table Manchester had enjoyed a 4-1 win over Dundee Stars the night before, going 3-0 up within 23 minutes. And they had an impressive start at Sheffield Arena, forging ahead twice. Joe Morrow's goal was neutralised when Mikko Juusola levelled.

Storm were 2-1 up just 25 seconds later, but a power play effort from Juusola ensured the teams were tied at the first interval; the second equaliser being Sheffield's 175th marker of the season. Storm were blasting in twice as many shots as Sheffield, something of a turnaround from previous meetings.

And the plucky visitors won the middle period, Zach Sullivan firing past Matt Greenfield. Steelers, who had started the match having scored 100 goals more than they'd conceded, needed to find their mojo.

Instead it was Manchester mojo that prevailed.

Samuel Tremblay made it 4-2 and Cameron Critchlow made it a previously-unthinkable 5-2.

A short-handed goal from Mark Simpson came with only two minutes left but any chance of a last hurrah was ended by Critchlow's empty-netter.  

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