SHEFFIELD STEELERS bounced back from a one-point weekend with two wins to take them joint-top of the Elite League.
Gerad Adams’s team have the same number of points as Braehead Clan, but the Scottish club have more regulation wins.
Last night, the Steelers followed up the previous evening’s 3-2 success against Nottingham Panthers, with a 4-1 win at Fife Flyers – Mathieu Roy proving the star of the show with a hat-trick, while Tyler Mosienko added the other goal.
On Saturday, a Robert Dowd powerplay winner in front of 7,200 crowd at the Motorpoint Arena was enough to see off arch-rivals Nottingham.
Hull Stingrays lost further ground on Gardiner Conference leaders Braehead when they went down 6-4 to the Glasgow club.
It followed Saturday night’s 5-3 win at home against Coventry Blaze.
“I couldn’t be happier or more pleased with the whole team,” said Steelers’ head coach Adams following his team’s four-point haul.
“On Saturday I think we all felt that this game against the Panthers was one that we just had to win. We all bought in and committed and probably played our best game of the season. We were excellent at times and deserved the points no question.
“Fife is a very hard place to come to. The Flyers are a very good side. We have swept them twice at home and here in Fife. That was a tough ask but we came through.
“Mathieu Roy was again outstanding, he might just be the best player I have seen over here in front of the net. He takes a beating every night but he earns his rewards with his goals.”
In what was the 100th Elite League game against the Panthers, the Steelers edged a tight first period thanks to Mike Forney’s 19th-minute strike.
They doubled their lead less than two minutes into the second when Colton Fretter tapped home from close range.
Former Steelers’ forward Robert Farmer then halved the deficit just after the halfway mark and they tied the encounter at 47.26 through Max Parent.
But, with Panthers’ Brandon Benedict in the box on a boarding minor, Dowd pounced at 49.46 and, despite some strong, late pressure from the visitors, it proved to be the game-winner.
Goals from Eric Galbraith, Zach Hervato, Jordan Mayer, Dominic Osman and a first for the club from Will Frederick had given the Stingrays a deserved win over Coventry on Saturday.
But they couldn’t repeat that success against a strong Braehead team, who so far this season are proving more than a match for the league’s bigger teams in Sheffield and Nottingham.
Cory Tanaka’s 17th of the season cancelled out Matt Haywood’s opener for the home side, only for Leigh salters to restore the home side’s slender advantage.
A second from Salters - short-handed - plus a powerplay strike from Neil Trimm left Hull reeling before Carl Lauzon and Jordan Mayer struck to reduce the deficit to one.
But another short-handed strike - this time from Jamie Fritsch - saw the Clan edge further away, only for Matty Davies’s strike to reel,them back in.
As Hull pushed for an equaliser, Scott Pitt’s late empty-net marker sealed both points for Ryan Finnerty’s team.
“Braehead are in first place for a reason, but I thought we worked really hard and battled to the end,” said Hull player-coach Omar Pacha.
“I really love our work ethic. We have a no-quit mentality, although we just need to be a little bit more intelligent at times.
“We made some mental mistakes and it cost us. We conceded two short-handed goals and it killed us, special teams killed us, and that is something we will work on.
“The effort was there all weekend. We were looking for four points, especially after the win over Coventry, but on the road we pushed one of the best teams in the league all the way.”
RESULTS Elite League, Sunday: Braehead Clan 6 Hull Stingrays 4, Cardiff Devils 5 Belfast Giants 3, Coventry Blaze 3 Nottingham Panthers 4, Edinburgh Capitals 3 Dundee Stars 2, Fife Flyers 1 Sheffield Steelers 4.
Saturday: Braehead Clan 2 Fife Flyers 1, Cardiff Devils 4 Belfast Giants 1, Dundee Stars 2 Edinburgh Capitals 3, Hull Stingrays 5 Coventry Blaze 3, Sheffield Steelers 3 Nottingham Panthers 2.