GLASGOW CLAN embarrassed Sheffield Steelers in front of their own fans for the second time in less than a month on Wednesday night, winning 6-1.
Tom Barrasso‘s team had suffered a 6-0 humiliation at the hands of Pete Russell’s in-form Clan just over three weeks ago and came into the match eager to avenge that defeat.
Results elsewhere means pressure for a play-off spot has intensified further for the Steelers, Coventry Blaze now sitting just two points behind the their South Yorkshire rivals after sealing a 3-1 win at Nottingham Panthers.
It was the third straight win for Danny Stewart’s side - and Blaze’s first at the National Ice Centre since 2016 - ahead of their trip to Sheffield Arena on Saturday.
With Coventry also enjoying four games in hand on the Steelers, it is starting to have the feeling of a must-win encounter for Barrasso’s team. although, given Steelers’ remaining 10 games - which brings two meetings against each of the top two Cardiff and Belfast - every game between now and March 31 will have a do-or-die feel about it.
All the talk ahead of Glasgow’s last visit of the regular season had been about avenging the January 26 loss to the Clan in their own building but, instead, the Steelers found themselves on the backfoot within 69 seconds when former Hull Stingrays and Cardiff Devils forward Guillaume Doucet had all the time in the world to fire past Jackson Whistle after a feed from behind the net by Brendan Connolly.
That lead was doubled at 8.31 when, after a turnover in the Clan zone, Doucet broke free down the left to return the favour and set up the unmarked Connolly. Although the Steelers went close through Robert Dowd and Anthony DeLuca, that was how it stayed at the first break.
The Steelers continued to find it hard to break down the visitors and their woes increased just before the halfway mark when Travis Ehrhardt fired past Whistle into the top left-hand corner.
At 31.19, the Clan went 4-0 ahead after winning a face-off on the right from where the puck fell to Rasmus Bjerrum who ripped one past a helpless Whistle.
But it was a loose final two minutes of the period which produced two further Clan goals that led to boos ringing out at the second break from a small section of the home crowd.
Doucet was left with a simple tap-in from close range following a break by Connolly at 38.02 and then grabbed his hat-trick at 39.52 when he rounded a static Steelers defence to fire home.
The often-stranded Whistle was replaced by back-up Brad Day for the final period and even though Steelers captain Jonathan Phillips pulled one back early on with a stunning end-to-end rush with a wraparound finish, in truth, there was little for the home fans to cheer about on a dismal evening.
The remaining minutes could not be played out quick enough for those of an orange persuasion and when the final buzzer sounded it was only to confirm the dominance Glasgow have enjoyed in the head to head series between the two teams, winning five of the regular season meetings.