Adams delighted after witnessing Steelers’ ‘best’

SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ Gerad Adams hailed the “best team performance” he had seen in his time as head coach at the club after seeing his side clinch a 5-4 win in overtime at Belfast Giants.

Geoff Woolhouse: the Steelers netminder came in for praise from coach Gerad Adams after his performances at the weekend.

Not only did it make up for the previous night’s 2-1 defeat at home to the improving Coventry Blaze, but it kept Elite League leaders Braehead Clan’s advantage over the Steelers to just three points after the Scottish club enjoyed a four-point weekend with wins over Dundee Stars.

Adams singled out goaltender Geoff Woolhouse for special praise, particularly after the No 2 goalie had pulled his groin and played through the previous evening and then somehow managed to get through another 60 minutes in Belfast.

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Cullen Eddy was the hero at the other end with a game-winning goal just 1.09 into overtime, but Steelers only had themselves to blame for letting it get to that stage after surrendering a three-goal lead.

“In my time in Sheffield that performance tonight was the best team performance I have seen, better than the Nottingham wins, better than the play off final,” said Adams.

“Everyone was outstanding and fully committed.

“The boys battled so hard, they played so hard especially knowing that ‘House’ was so injured that he really shouldn’t have even made the flight over here. He was our hero tonight.

“I think everyone on the team wanted to win that game for ‘House’ as a thank you - he could hardly move and yet made some excellent saves.

“Those in front of him blocked shots, were physical and just so good. They played so hard with such commitment.

“As a coach it was so good to see.”

Colton Fretter and Mike Forney struck to give the visitors a 2-0 lead after 10 minutes and, after Craig Peacock replied at 11.58, Robert Dowd restored the two-goal lead at 18.42.

Fretter’s second at 11.21 on the powerplay made it 4-1, before Nathan Robinson pulled his back to within two at 33.51.

Calvin Elfring’s strike at 48.10 and a second from Peacock five minutes later pulled Giants level, but Eddy silenced the home crowd with his fifth of the season.

It was a different mood after Saturday night’s game, however, after an improving Coventry stunned the Motorpoint Arena by taking both points.

Blaze goaltender Brian Stewart proved a major obstacle to the home side and, when the deadlock was broken early in the second period, it came at the other end – Steelers’ Darell Hay being made to pay for taking a cross-checking penalty when Ben Arnet squeezed the puck past Geoff Woolhouse at 21.50.

It got worse for Adams’s side 39 seconds laterwhen Ryan O’Marra doubled the visitors’ advantage.

Try as they might, tyhe Steelers couldn’t find a way through until early in the third when Mathiue Roy found a way past Stewart on the powerplay to halve the deficit.

Chances came and went at both ends, but Coventry held firm and, following a win by the same scoreline at home to Nottingham on Sunday night, their chances of reaching the play-offs have improved considerably with other results going their way over the weekend.

Panthers are now six points behind second-placed Steelers, but hold a 3-1 advantage over their South Yorkshire rivals going into Tuesday night’s Challenge Cup semi-final second leg at the National Ice Centre.

RESULTS

Sunday: Belfast Giants 4 Sheffield Steelers 5 (OT), Cardiff Devils 3 Fife Flyers 1, Coventry Blaze 2 Nottingham Panthers 1, Dundee Stars 0 Braehead Clan 5, Edinburgh Capitals 5 Hull Stingrays 4 (SO).

Saturday: Belfast Giants 4 Edinburgh Capitals 6, Braehead Clan 3 Dundee Stars 0, Fife Flyers 5 Hull Stingrays 0, Nottingham Panthers 2 Cardiff Devils 3, Sheffield Steelers 1 Coventry Blaze 2.