Sheffield Steelers close gap after disposing of Braehead Clan

Mark Matheson.
Mark Matheson.
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SHEFFIELD STEELERS turned in an impressive display to move up to second in the Elite League standings after a 4-1 win at Braehead Clan.

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The result saw Paul Thompson’s men close the gap on leaders Nottingham Panthers to just two points, but having played four games more.

Cardiff Devils sit one place back from the Steelers by virtue of having won one less game in regulation. Their 4-2 home win over Guildford Flames last night saw them remain level on points with the South Yorkshire club with two games in hand.

Last night’s victory was well-deserved for the Steelers, who took the lead in the 12th minute through defenceman Mark Matheson, only to be pegged back when Tyler Scofield replied just under two minutes later at 13.29.

It was in the second period that the visitors’ dominance came to the fore, however, out-shooting Braehead by 21 shots to four and going on to pepper Ryan Nie’s goal with 44 shots on the night – twice as many as the hosts could muster.

The Steelers eventually went ahead again through Ben O’Connor at 36.02 but, despite their superiority, they didn’t make the game safe until they were inside the last 10 minutes. Matt Marquardt scored his 10th goal of the season at 50.33 before Mathieu Roy added an empty-net strike with 26 seconds left.

The Steelers will come up against a familiar face when they play host to title rivals Belfast Giants tomorrow, Ashley Tait having joined the Adam Keefe’s side on a short-term deal.

He will line up against Manchester Storm tonight before reacquainting himself with more familiar surroundings tomorrow, having had two spells with the Steelers.

Keefe said he had no doubts about bringing Tait in to help out with injuries and suspensions.

“Once we found out that Ashley was available this weekend, there was no hesitation in approaching him,” said Keefe.

Tait made his debut for the Steelers in 2007 and – broken up by a year in in Italy – went on to play nearly 300 games, scoring 116 goals and 211 assists.

After leaving Coventry Blaze for a second time at the end of last season, he joined league newcomers Milton Keynes for the 2017-18 campaign.

He left last month after scoring three points in 27 appearances, allowing him to be join Belfast on Thursday.