EPL - Sheffield Steeldogs and Hull Pirates find the road to Coventry blocked

YORKSHIRE's hopes of representation at the English Premier League play-off finals weekend are over after Sheffield Steeldogs and Hull Pirates both crashed out.

Sheffield Steeldogs' player-coach, Greg Wood

With two games remaining in their respective play-off groups both clubs will now begin turning their attentions towards next season, leaving their rivals to slug it out for a place at the play-off finals weekend at Coventry’s SkyDome Arena on April 8-9.

Sheffield Steeldogs competed well against visitors Peterborough Phantoms and went some way to erasing last week’s 12-0 hammering in Cambridgeshire as they went down 6-2.

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Hull Pirates matched Basingstoke Bison well until the third period when two unanswered goals gave the visitors a 4-2 triumph.

Hull Pirates' player-coach, Jason Hewitt. Picture: Lois Tomlinson.

In a lively encounter, Sheffield took the lead at 4.07 through Arnoldas Bosas before the visitors took control through two goals in as many minutes from James Ferrara and Will Weldon.

Steeldogs equalised early in the second through Donatas Kumeliauskas but, try as they might, they couldn’t get the go-ahead goal.

Former Steeldogs forward Edgars Bebris put his side ahead again at 26.46 before Scott Robson made it 4-2 just under three minutes later.

It got worse early in the third when Darius Pliskauskas extended the advantage to three goals and, despite having numerous chances, the Steeldogs couldn’t find a further reply, with Petr Stepanek making it 6-2 late on.

Hull Pirates' player-coach, Jason Hewitt. Picture: Lois Tomlinson.

“We got off to a great start when we went a goal up, but unfortunately we made a couple of mistakes and we got punished right away which is the nature of this league at the moment,” said Wood afterwards.

“We kind of lost our way a little bit towards the end of the first period, but their goalie has had a hell of a game and made a couple of big stops at crucial times and if one of those goes in, it completely changes the game.

“But, over the two games against them, we were outplayed – we just have to hold our hands up and admit that.

“They are a very good team, well-organised and disciplined and we’ve just got to make sure we’re better.”

After slipping behind to an early Derek Roehl strike, Hull hit back through a 12th-minute powerplay marker from James Chilcott.

Joe Rand restored the Bison’s lead at 26.18 but Jason Hewitt’s team again struck back, this time through a powerplay goal from Andrej Themar just after the halfway point. That is how it stayed until just over seven minutes into the third when an Aaron Connolly strike saw the visitors take advantage of Chilcott being in the penalty box on a high sticking call.

As Hull pushed for a third equaliser, goaltender Vlastimil Lakosil was pulled which allowed Roehl to grab his second of the night with an empty netter.