SHEFFIELD STEELERS ensured the celebratory mood which had greeted the weekend continued into the early hours of this morning’s coach ride home from Scotland when they posted a maximum return in the Elite League.
Having started the weekend off by raising the banner for their 2015-16 Elite League title win and marking captain Jonathan Phillips’ rise to second in the list of all-time appearances, they enhanced the party mood with back-to-back wins over Fife Flyers.
Last night in Kirkcaldy saw John Armstrong provide the inspiration, scoring two first-period goals to establish the platform for a 4-2 win.
The game was put beyond the reach of hosts Fife after second-period strikes from Jesse Schultz and defenceman David Phillips, despite replies from Mathew Sisca and David Turon.
Just under 24 hours earlier, after around 6,000 fans cheered for the banner-raising, the Flyers looked in the mood to spoil the party atmosphere when they took a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes, much against the run of play.
Former Steelers’ defenceman Russ Moyer was partly responsible, breaking up a move by his former captain Phillips before firing a pinpoint pass to Brendan Brooks, who was all alone to fire past Ervins Mustukovs.
That was how it stayed until after the halfway mark when Levi Nelson - returning from an injury lay-off - finished off a one-two with Mike Ratchuk at 33.24.
The go-ahead goal came less than two minutes into the third, Nelson feeding Dowd from the left for the GB international to fire through Shane Owen’s legs at 41.23.
Just over four minutes later, the hosts doubled their advantage when Tyler Mosienko stabbed the puck home after a goalmouth scramble that left Flyers goaltender Owen furious after he felt he was impeded.
As the Flyers - outshot 49-29 on the night - battled for a way back, Guillaume Desbiens collected a pass out from the Steelers zone from Mosienko on the halfway line before skating clear to fire past Owen with just 33 seconds remaining.