Sheffield Steeldogs made to wait for NIHL National Final Four Weekend spot after defeat to Peterborough Phantoms
It leaves both teams on six points at the top of their play-off group ahead of a rematch in Peterborough tomorrow, with Basingstoke Bison and Swindon Wildcats playing the first of their double-header weekend against each other in Hampshire tonight.
Should Basingstoke lose tonight, the Steeldogs will join Milton Keynes Lightning and Telford Tigers in the finals, those two teams last night confirming their places at next weekend’s end-of-season jamboree at Coventry’s Skydome Arena
Alex Graham opened the scoring for the Steeldogs on a delayed penalty call at 4.06 before Ales Padelek levelled at 13.48.
Petr Stepanek then put the visitors ahead at 16.45, but the first intermission couldn’t come soon enough for the hosts, though, after they quickly found themselves 4-1 down after Callum Buglass and Tom Norton found a way past Dmitri Zimozdra.
Jason Hewitt gave the Steeldogs hope early in the second but they couldn’t eat into the deficit any further by the time the second intermission came around.
Their task got even harder when former forward Duncan Spiers made it 5-2 against his old club at 43.45. Lee Bonner gave the hosts a glimmer of hope when replying at 48.27, but the scoring was completed by Padelek, who made it 6-3 in the 59th minute.
In the other play-off group, Leeds Knights remain winless after they lost their final home game of the season 5-3 to regular season league champions Telford.
It means they have one last chance to pick up a first post-season victory when they head to Slough tomorrow night to take on Bees IHC, who are also out of the running for Coventry after losing 5-3 to Milton Keynes Lightning last night.
Adam Barnes, Ethan Hehir and Harry Gulliver got on the board for the Knights.