EPL - Sheffield Steeldogs and Hull Pirates eye momentum ahead of play-offs

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SHEFFIELD STEELDOGS warmed up for the English Premier League play-offs with two impressive performances that produced a three-point weekend.

With player-coach Greg Wood still on the sidelines, goals from Donatas Kumeliauskas, Arnoldas Bosas and dual-registered Liam Kirk were enough to take the Steeldogs into overtime against newly-crowned regular season champions Telford Tigers.

Telford recovered from being 2-0 down at Ice Sheffield through strikes from Doug Clarkson and Jason Silverthorn.

Kirk then edged the hosts in front again just before the halfway mark before Corey McEwen levelled for the Tigers once again at 35.23.

That was how it stayed up until 60 minutes, after which the Tigers required just 16 seconds before defenceman Jonathan Weaver struck the winner.

On Sunday, it was much better news for Wood’s team, although they had to drag themselves back twice from a two-goal deficit at bottom club Bracknell Bees.

Hull player-coach, Jason Hewitt.

Hull player-coach, Jason Hewitt.

Kumeliauskas halved the deficit early in the second although the hosts restored their two-goal advantage in the 36th minute through Olegs Lascenko.

Thomas Barry pulled one back with just 31 seconds left in the period and just over six minutes had passed in the final section when Stanislav Lascek levelled.

In the final 10 minutes, the Steeldogs ran away with the points, three goals in just under seven minutes coming from the sticks of Ashley Calvert (2) and Lascek.

Hull Pirates, comfortable in seventh spot and 11 points clear of Sheffield, went down 5-2 at Swindon Wildcats

Jason Hewitt’s side got off to a flying start through Lee Bonner’s strike with just 45 seconds on the clock.

But they were 3-1 down by the end of the second only to make it a one-goal game again through Ugnius Cizas 46.25.

Any hopes of a comeback, however, were dashed when Robin Kovar grabbed his second of the night at 53.24 on the powerplay, leaving Maxim Birbraer to complete the scoring with an empty-netter.

Both Sheffield and Hull have just the two games remaining in the regular season, the final game pitting the two against each other on Sunday in Hull.

On Saturday, both hit the road, with Hull heading to Bracknell while Sheffield visit Guildford.