Sheffield Steelers 5 Rungsted 4 (SO): Shoot-out success sets up final day of reckoning for Steelers

Jonas Westerling scores Sheffield Steelers' second goal against hosts Rungsted on Saturday night. Picture: Dean Woolley
Jonas Westerling scores Sheffield Steelers' second goal against hosts Rungsted on Saturday night. Picture: Dean Woolley
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SHEFFIELD STEELERS completed a thrilling comeback to beat hosts Rungsted in a shoot-out and keep their Continental Cup hopes alive.

Given their 7-1 defeat at the hands of Yunost Minsk the previous night - the Belarussians sealing progression to the final stage with a 4-2 win over Kurbads Riga earlier on Saturday - Paul Thompson's players could have been forgiven for fearing the worst when they found themselves 3-0 adrift at the Saxo Bank Arena for the second game running.

But they hauled themselves level with a tremendous second period showing and came from behind one more time to take the game into overtime and then a shoot-out in which goaltender Ervins Mustukovs turned away four efforts with Matt Marquardt and Jonas Westerling scoring to seal victory.

Aggrieved at what they felt was a misleadingly lopsided scoreline the previous night, the Steelers had further reason to be frustrated when they fell behind to the tournament hosts in the eighth minute, the officials eventually deciding Marcus Nielsen's goal should stand after Scott Aarssen took a stick to the face.

Just under five minutes later, the Steelers, who had plenty of scoring opportunities of their own in the first period, were 2-0 down when a rebound off Mustukov from Jacob Hansen's shot fell straight into the path of Nikolaj Rosenthal.

The situation became worse for the Steelers just under four minutes into the second when Hansen got on the scoresheet, although they gave themselves a lifeline just after the halfway mark when Levi Nelson struck.

Levi Nelson begins the comeback for the Steelers with a 31st-minute strike. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Levi Nelson begins the comeback for the Steelers with a 31st-minute strike. Picture: Dean Woolley.

It became a one-goal game when, on the break, Westerling benefitted from a precision pass from Marquardt at 33.14. Only 66 more seconds had elapsed before the Steelers found themselves level through Rob Dowd.

Further chances came and went for Colton Fretter, John Armstrong and Nelson and the Steelers were made to pay for their profligacy when Rungsted broke clear to set up former Coventry Blaze forward Robin Bergman to strike and make it 4-3 with just five seconds of the period remaining.

Try as they might, the Steelers couldn't find a leveller for some time, but their efforts finally paid off when Nelson shot high into the net at 54.04 to make it 4-4.

In overtime, Marquardt hit the post meaning the lottery of a shoot-out was required. Mustukovs excelled, turning away attempts from Bergman, Morten Jensen, Mattias Persson and Hansen meaning Marquardt and Westerling's successes were enough to see Steelers to victory and two vital points.

Sheffield Steelers' John Armstrong battles for puck possession against tournament hosts Rungsted. Picture: Dean Woolley

Sheffield Steelers' John Armstrong battles for puck possession against tournament hosts Rungsted. Picture: Dean Woolley

Their final match against Kurbads, one point above them in second place in the Group D table, takes place at 1-m (UK time) on Sunday.