SHEFFIELD Steelers were always going to have to retain their Elite League title the hard way – last night’s 3-2 shoot-out defeat to Belfast Giants has just made that task slightly more difficult.
The Steelers sit eight points behind Belfast knowing that in order to win consecutive regular season titles they will likely need to win all three of their games in hand as well as beat the Giants twice in Northern Ireland when the two meet in a double header two weeks from now.
Belfast took the lead on the powerplay at 18.37 through former Steelers favourite Robert Dowd’s deflected shot.
Steelers deservedly levelled on the powerplay through Jason Hewitt at 26.28 but Belfast restored their lead 50 seconds later, another power play opportunity seeing John Pelle unchecked before firing past John DeCaro.
The game looked to be slipping away from Steelers until the 56th minute when the industrious Lee Esders levelled after good work by King.
No goals came in overtime and it was left to Craig Peacock to score the match-winning effort in the shoot-out to secure that vital extra point for the visitors.