ROAD trips to Scotland on a Sunday are rarely regarded as the most enticing prospect for those Elite League teams who reside a long way south of the border.
No offence is intended towards any of the four welcoming hosts currently competing in the UK’s top-flight, it’s just that 6-7 hour bus trips are far from ideal preparation for the kind of high-octane, intense 60-minute on-ice encounter that awaits.
But at least Sheffield Steelers’ latest trip home from Scotland proved to be a pleasant one, a 5-2 win over the Dundee Stars the product of a solid performance that was also enough to get them a point in a 4-3 defeat to Nottingham Panthers on home ice the previous evening.
If Paul Thompson’s team had managed to land a four-point weekend, nobody could really have argued against it, but a three-point haul will still be viewed as a productive weekend’s work for the Steelers.
Thompson himself was certainly pleased with the efforts of his players.
“I thought we were in control from the start of the game until the end in Dundee,” said Thompson. “We had a very professional attitude coming up here and we executed very well
“Dundee worked and batted hard but there was no panic at all from us, not even when they brought it back to 3-2. We stuck to our game plan and the boys did everything that was asked.
“I felt we didn’t get the result the performance deserved against Nottingham on Saturday – tonight we did.”
Sunday night’s win on Tayside came courtesy of goals from Swedish duo Andreas Jamtin and Andreas Valdix, along with strikes from ‘apprentices’ Cole Shudra and Liam Kirk, with a Rob Dowd effort thrown in for good measure.
Jamtin, in only his second weekend of action for the South Yorkshire club, was justly rewarded for his industrious performances over four nights when he opened the scoring on Tayside with a sixth-minute powerplay effort.
Valdix doubled the advantage early in the second before Shudra made it 3-0 on the powerplay.
The visitors allowed Dundee back in to make it a one-goal game through strikes from Joey de Concilys and Brian Hart, but Dowd’s response in the 51st minute settled any nerves, with Kirk ensuring two points just over three minutes later.
On Saturday, Steelers posted a fifth-minute lead through Tim Wallace, but were 3-1 adrift early in the second after Panthers strikes from Robert Farmer, Yann Sauve and Tim Billingsley.
Matt Marquardt pounced at 37.34 to give the hosts a lifeline, something they made the most of when Mathieu Roy tipped in Colton Fretter’s shot with less than two minutes remaining.
I felt we didn’t get the result the performance deserved against Nottingham on Saturday – tonight we did.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson.
A frantic but goalless three-on-three overtime followed, with the extra point eventually going to the visitors after Mark Derlago was the only one of six to find the net in the subsequent shoot-out.