SHEFFIELD STEELERS may have emerged from the weekend pointless but they showed the kind of battling qualities that will be required in the chase for Elite League honours this season.
Aaron Fox was left feeling for his players on the coach home from South Wales on Saturday after seeing them slip to a narrow 4-3 defeat at Cardiff Devils.
Just under 24 hours later, they were on the bus once more, this time heading to Altrincham to take on Manchester Storm only to head home from the north west empty-handed with a third defeat of the season at the hands of Ryan Finnerty’s team at the venue, again edged out 4-3.
It was the Steelers who led at the first break thanks to Anthony DeLuca’s 18th-minute strike, although the hosts were soon level after the restart through Mario Puskarich at 25.13.
The Storm then took the lead just under five minutes later when Adam Hughesman converted on the power play.
But the hosts were to undo their own good work by conceding shorthanded 59 seconds later –Brendan Connolly jumping on his own rebound to beat Matt Ginn.
Period three belonged to the hosts who went ahead again five minutes in through Layne Ulmer, and then made it 4-2 through Hughesman’s second of the night at 48:39. DeLuca pulled a goal back for the Steelers with 2:24 to play, but that was as close as it got.
On Saturday, the Steelers had again taken the lead, Nikolai Lemtyugov beating Ben Bowns from close range with a quick wrist shot at 4.59 on the powerplay.
The Devils were level at 15.46, however, when Gleason Fournier struck on the power play.
Just over four minutes into the second period, Brendan Connolly tipped in a speculative Ben O’Connor shot to make it 2-1, but the Devils hit back through Masi Marjamaki at 27.59
The hosts then went ahead for the first time 31 seconds later through Fournier and although Marek Trončinský brought the scores level again at 32:02, the game-winning strike came at the other end when Fournier’s shot was deflected in by Stephen Dixon at 36.45.
On the Cardiff defeat, Fox said: “We played close to a full 60 minutes, we really battled hard, we outplayed them and out-chanced them but unfortunately we didn’t score the goals we needed to. We gave up three goals on seven shots in the second and that hurt us.
“We just couldn’t find that timely goal in the third to tie the game up.”
We played close to a full 60 minutes, we really battled hard, we outplayed them and out-chanced them but unfortunately we didn’t score the goals we needed to.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Aaron Fox.