Sheffield Steelers 4 Cardiff Devils 0: Marquardt double helps Steelers dominate champions

THE LAST TIME Sheffield Steelers and Cardiff Devils met in South Yorkshire, the hosts felt hard done to not to come away with two points.

Matt Marquardt celebrates his second and Sheffield Steelers' fourth goal against Cardiff Devils on Saturday night. Picture: Dean Woolley
Matt Marquardt celebrates his second and Sheffield Steelers' fourth goal against Cardiff Devils on Saturday night. Picture: Dean Woolley

On that occasion, Paul Thompson's team were forced to settle for a single point after the defending Elite League champions edged them out in overtime.

This time, however, there was little doubt over who was the dominant party.

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Whether they are feeling the effects of a gruelling Champions Hockey League is hard to say, but Cardiff were very much second-best on Saturday night at Sheffield Arena.

Matt Marquardt, far right, smashes the puck in from mid-air puck to make it 4-0 to the Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley.

The Steelers maintained the pressure on early-season league leaders Manchester Storm - who won 3-2 at home to Fife Flyers - with a convincing win over Andrew Lord's team.

Having failed to register a win against any of their Erhardt Conference opponents in four previous attempts, the Steelers were determined to put that record right. They can now double their delight on Sunday when the Belfast Giants come to town (5pm).

On Saturday, despite having Swedish forward Andreas Jamtin in the penalty box on a hooking call, the home side went ahead 13.04 in the opening period when Colton Fretter put away the first short-handed, courtesy of a John Armstrong feed after a nightmarish giveaway behind the goal by Devils' goalkeeper Ben Bowns.

Just over five minutes later, the in-form Matt Marquardt scored his fifth goal in four games as the Steelers started to impose themselves on the game, the 30-year-old Canadian glancing in from a Fretter back-hander past an unsighted Bowns.

Mathieu Roy battles for possession around the Cardiff Devils' goal in Saturday night's 4-0 win over the defending Elite League champions. Picture: Dean Woolley.

A tight second session followed but, crucially, the Steelers got themselves further in front towards the end of the period when the industrious Jamtin pounced on a rebound from Bowns to Tim Wallace's initial effort from in front of the net.

Marquardt picked up his second of the night just over three minutes into the third, skilfully slapping the puck home in mid-air after Mark Matheson's initial shot had rebounded off the back boards.

Matt Marquardt, far right, smashes the puck in from mid-air puck to make it 4-0 to the Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley.
Mathieu Roy battles for possession around the Cardiff Devils' goal in Saturday night's 4-0 win over the defending Elite League champions. Picture: Dean Woolley.