PAUL THOMPSON hailed a “job well done” after Sheffield Steelers finished their weekend on a high with a comprehensive road win at Elite League newcomers Guildford Flames.
John Armstrong and Robert Dowd each scored two goals and Mathieu Roy registered three assists as the Steelers recorded a 7-1 victory in Surrey.
The polished performance enabled the Steelers tp quickly get over the disappointment they felt 24 hours earlier when they lost their 2017-18 league opener at home to defending champions Cardiff Devils 4-3 in overtime.
The Devils had lost at Guildford 8-4 in the Challenge Cup a week earlier, so there was understandable respect to be paid to Sunday night’s hosts, who made the step up from the now-defunct English Premier League along with Milton Keynes Lightning in the summer.
Dowd put the Steelers ahead in the second minute with a powerplay goal, before captain Jonathan Phillips pounced to double the advantage mid-way through the opening period.
It became 3-0 when Armstrong hit the back of the net at 16.21, although the Flames struck twince shortly after the re-start through David Lilliestrom Karlsson.
Any hopes of a comeback for the hosts were dashed shortly after, however, when Colton Fretter scored the visitors’ second powerplay goal of the night at 25.20. The always lively Dowd then made it 5-1 just over eight minutes later.
The Steelers moved further ahead just under two minutes into the third period with a second Armstrong strike on the powerplay, before teenager Liam Kirk wrapped up the scoring at 51.47.
“I thought it was a job well done,” said Steelers’ head coach Thompson. “A professional road win.
“We talked about jumping off to a good start – it’s something we haven’t done to date, so to get off the way we did in Guildford pleased me.
“Liam’s goal will give him a lot more confidence – he played well tonight, a lot more rounded game, I was pleased with him.
“With us playing on Tuesday against Dundee I wanted to use the whole bench and did. I was very pleased with how we handled what could have been a vert tricky night.”
Armstrong’s double in Guildford gave him a four-goal return for the weekend, being on target twice against Cardiff 24 hours earlier.
We talked about jumping off to a good start – it’s something we haven’t done to date, so to get off the way we did in Guildford pleased me.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson.
But it proved in vain when, with just 38 seconds of overtime remaining, Justin Faryna’s effort gave the visitors the extra point in what had been a typically hard-fought encounter between the two sides.
Armstrong’s strike at 11.52 cancelled out Sean Bentivoglio’s opener before the Devils went 3-1 ahead early in the second through Joey Marton and Matt Pope.
Fretter and then Armstrong helped pull the Steelers level but they were to be denied in the cruellest of ways.
The Steelers are next in action on Tuesday night, finishing a run of three games in four days against Dundee Stars at Ice Sheffield.