AFTER Saturday’s 17-goal frenzy at Braehead Clan, last night’s Elite League clash with arch-rivlas Nottingham Panthers was always likely to prove a rather more sedate affair.
It certainly proved to be the case with only five goals scored at Sheffield Arena. The problem was that it was the hosts who came out on the wrong end of the 4-1 scoreline.
The only comfort Paul Thompson and his players could take from the last two days is that they fared better in Glasgow, albeit after a penalty shoot-out was required for them to seal a 9-8 win.
Of chief concern to head coach Thompson will be his team’s ability in recent weeks to leak an alarming number of goals.
In the first 10 games of the season, the Steelers were one of the meanest teams in the league, conceding 20 goals. Compare that with shipping 43 goals in the last 10 games and it is easy to see why some fans may be growing concerned their team is already seven points behind current leaders Nottingham.
It was the Panthers who inflicted the Steelers’ latest setback, the game already out of sight by the time the two teams reconvened for the third period, with the visitors enjoying a 4-0 lead.
First-period strikes from David Clarke and Evan Mosey were followed by goals in the middle section from Geoff Waugh and Andy Bohmbach. A reply early in the third from Levi Nelso proved nothing more than a consolation.
On Saturday, Steelers twice gave up the lead before having to come from 8-5 down to take the game into overtime and then a shoot-out where back-up netminder Brad Day again proved the hero, with Fredrik Vestberg, Tyler Mosienko and Chris Lawrence firing past Chris Holt.
Steelers had raced into a 3-1 lead through Jeff Legue, Lawrence and Nelson, only for Ryan Finnerty’s team to lead 4-3 at the break. Steelers then led 5-4 through Robert Dowd and Vestberg but, again, the hosts rallied to lead 6-5.
Former Steelers’ forward Steffan Meyer then scored twice to make it 8-5, but Mosienko, Nelson and Mathieu Roy all got on the board to set up a thrilling finale.