Influence of Tom Barrasso on Sheffield Steelers continues to have desired effect

SHEFFIELD STEELERS ensured their Elite League rivals will continue to sit up and take notice when they maintained their run of good form with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Manchester Storm.

FROM ME, TO YOU: Evan McGrath, right, comes to congratulate Steffan Della Rovere after helping set him up to score Sheffield Steelers' third goal against Manchester Storm on Sunday. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Having been out of action for more than a week, the Steelers showed no signs of being ring rusty on a night which brought three power play goals from a team looking increasingly comfortable playing under the attentive eye of head coach Tom Barrasso.

It was a goal on the man-advantage at 15.12 from the stick of Josh Pitt – tipping in a Ben O’Connor shot – that saw the Steelers break the deadlock in front of a 7,000-plus crowd against former head coach Ryan Finnerty’s team.

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They doubled their lead just after the halfway mark when Swedish forward Jonas Westerling slotted home a second power play marker of the evening when prodding in a rebound from close-range.

NOW HEAR THIS: Tom Barrasso gets his message across to the Sheffield Steelers' players on Sunday night. Picture: Dean Woolley.

The visitors – frustrated by a 5-4 overtime defeat at home to defending champions Cardiff Devils the previous evening – got themselves back in the game in the 48th minute thanks to Evan Richardson’s scrambled effort.

But it wasn’t a one-goal game for long as, less than four minutes later, the Steelers made the game safe through Stefan Della Rovere’s sharp strike off a pinpoint feed from Evan McGrath.

It was then left to defenceman and assistant coach Mark Matheson to round off the scoring – again on the power play – when his speculative shot found its way past an unsighted Matt Ginn in the Storm goal.

Elsewhere, Steelers’ back-up netminder Brad Day enjoyed a winning start to his loan spell at Hull Pirates when he helped them to a 2-1 win in overtime at home to fierce rivals Sheffield Steeldogs in the NIHL North Cup.

It was a much-needed tonic for Jason Hewitt’s team, who had suffered a first league defeat of the season at Solway Sharks the previous night, going down 3-2.

It meant a disappointing weekend for Ben Morgan’s Steeldogs, however, as they had already lost out 5-1 at home to Telford Tigers in the North Cup the previous evening.