Double delight lifts Steelers but Stingrays crumble in Dundee

SHEFFIELD STEELERS' Ben Simon was left a happy player-coach after two wins and favourable results elsewhere made it a weekend to savour for his team.

A 6-3 win over Yorkshire rivals Hull Stingrays on Saturday night ensured they finished their Challenge Cup campaign on a high, while on Sunday a second 8-0 thrashing of the season of Newcastle Vipers – combined with a 3-0 defeat for leaders Belfast Giants – saw their Elite League title hopes also prosper.

Former NHL forward Rob Globke, recently returned from a concussion-forced lay-off, was the main man for the Steelers at Sheffield Arena, plundering four goals – three of which were short-handed – against a Newcastle side low on confidence.

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It took Globke's tally for the season to 10 while team-mate Jeff Legue grabbed his 20th goal of the season. Joey Talbot, Derek Campbell and new signing Tom Squires were also on target for a rampant Steelers. It was a repeat screline from when the two sides met in South Yorkshire at the start of the season.

On Saturday, Simon's team were pushed hard by a determined Stingrays side looking for their first win in the Cup, with the rivals tied 3-3 going into the third period.

But goals from Steve Munn, Rod Sarich and Jerramie Domish ensured what could be two vital points for the visitors, although Nottingham Panthers and Coventry Blaze both won to remain firmly in the title race.

Kurtis Dulle, Cloutier and Matt Davies were on target for Hull while a first-period double from Simon and a second-period strike from Legue kept the teams level.

Not surprisingly, Simon was delighted with the two wins, with the added bonus being provided by Cardiff Devils' deserved triumph against Belfast in South Wales on Sunday.

"With the number of injuries and quick succession of games we've had recently, it was another two solid performacnes from our guys," said Simon.

"We've played a lot of games lately and only lost the one to Nottingham, who are a very good team so it's been a fantastic effort.

"Rob (Globke) was our best player this weekend by far – he was outstanding.

"In my 12 years of pro hockey I can't remember anyone scoring three short-handed goals. He took that big hit (from Guillaume Lepine in Nottingham last month) which gave him the concussion, but he's back to where he was before that happened.

"He'a great guy, firstly, but he's making me look good because he's also showing why I brought him here."

Saturday night's result in Hull ended Stingrays' hopes of making the Challenge Cup semi-finals, but the weekend got even worse for them in the league on Sunday when they were thrashed 9-4 by bottom club Dundee Stars.

The visitors were 4-0 down after 15 minutes and, despite strikes from Konstantin Kalmikov (2), Jereme Tendler and Davies, Dundee ran out deservedly comfortable winners.

"To give up nine goals is unacceptable. I don't care who you are playing but when you go 4-0 down so early it's a tough hill to climb," said Cloutier, who confirmed he is looking to make some personnel changes in the coming weeks.

"We keep having to work on it. You think some guys were starting to get it but obviously they are not."