SHEFFIELD Steelers ensured they came out of the festive period still in third place in the Elite League after a convincing 6-3 win over rivals Coventry Blaze.
After two defeats to second-placed Nottingham Panthers, Ryan Finnerty’s team were able to bounce back and see off a Coventry team who had lost only one of their previous nine games.
Luke Fulghum – jettisoned by Coventry last month to help balance the books at the Skydome Arena – enjoyed himself against his former club with two goals to cheer the majority of the 4,500 crowd at the Motorpoint Arena.
Coventry had briefly replaced Steelers in third place following a 3-2 overtime win over Cardiff on Saturday night, but they were always going to struggle to retain that position after finding themselves 4-1 down with less than 25 minutes gone.
Colt King was first to strike for Steelers at 2.33 before Bryan Jurynec levelled at 8.34.
Fulghum got his first of the night at 17.46 to send his team in ahead at the first break and quickly added to his tally less than two minutes into the third. Jeff Legue increased Steelers’ advantage a minute later, before a powerplay strike from Owen Fussey kept Blaze alive.
Steelers’ defenceman Matt Stephenson made it 5-2 at 47.00, Greg Owen replied shortly after before Mike Ramsay sealed the win with his 15th goal of the season at 51.45.
Steelers are next in action on Friday night, making the trip to the West Midlands for a rematch with Coventry.
That precedes a whole weekend in Scotland which sees them visit bottom club Fife Flyers on Saturday before making the short trip across the Forth to face an out-of-sorts Edinburgh Capitals, who are on a seven-game losing streak.