SHEFFIELD STEELERS climbed to the top of the Elite League standings after a hard-fought 4-2 win over Dundee Stars.
Three goals in three first-period minutes effectively won the game for Aaron Fox’s team, who made it four league wins on the bounce.
But they made life difficult for themselves after letting the visitors fight back to within a goal before a second goal of the night from the impressive Tanner Eberle gave them the cushion they desired.
“We got off to a good start in the first, although I felt we were abit fortunate to be up by three, to be fair,” said Fox. “Dundee play a hard game and I felt we lost our way in the second, there wasn’t a lot of energy there and they outworked us a little bit.
“We got a little soft and cute , but we found a way in the third to come back.”
It was Marc-Olivier Vallerand who opened the scoring at the FlyDSA Arena with a 12th-minute power play strike that flew into the roof of the net.
The lead was doubled exactly a minute later at 12.47 by Robert Dowd, although the Stars' bench was left incensed as they felt the Steelers' forward's stick was too high when he flat-batted the puck out of the air and into the net after Ben O'Connor's original shot had cannoned off he goalie.
Then, just 71 seconds on, Eberle made it 3-0 with his first of the evening after winning a foot race to get a shot in on Alex Leclerc, whose initial parry was put in by the Steelers forward on the rebound.
Omar Pacha’s team gained a foothold early in the second, however, through a Brett Stovin effort and they made it a one-goal game after a power play strike from Elgin Pearce at 46.03.
But Eberle’s 52nd-minute goal - a tip-in from an Eric Meland effort - enabled the Steelers to breathe more easily.
"I think we’re trending in the right direction," said Fox when asked after the game about his team's campaign so far. "We’ve won six out of seven and the game we lost was a cup game in Manchester.
"We’re starting to figure out what kind of team we are identity wise and realise that if we’re not playing that way for a full 60 minutes we’re very beatable.
“We’re a good team right now but we’ve still got to figure out how to do things a little tighter and a little more consistently over 60 minutes to be a great team.”