Sheffield Steelers enjoy bumper weekend to turn up the pressure on rivals Cardiff Devils

Josef Hrabal celebrates his first goal for Sheffield Steelers in the 6-2 win against Guildford Flames on Saturday. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.
Josef Hrabal celebrates his first goal for Sheffield Steelers in the 6-2 win against Guildford Flames on Saturday. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.
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A REMARKABLE third period comeback which produced a four-minute goal-blitz at Glasgow Clan ensured Sheffield Steelers remain the team to catch in the Elite League.

Having confidently dispatched Guildford Flames 6-2 on Saturday in front of a 9,000-plus crowd, hopes of a four-point weekend for the Steelers looked slim as they entered the last 10 minutes of their encounter in Glasgow, the hosts leading 3-1 through Craig Peacock, Mathieu Roy and Rasmus Bjerrum.

But a stunning comeback began when captain Jonathan Phillips tipped-in at 50.02 to make it a one-goal game, adding to Nikolai Lemtyugov’s 15th-minute marker.

Just 54 more seconds had passed when Michael Davies was quickest to react to a rebound in front to level matters and it was on the power play when the go-ahead goal arrived, Anthony DeLuca one-timing his effort in from the right hash marks at 53.33.

Having won the resulting face-off, John Armstrong then danced down the right before switching the puck across to Tanner Eberle, who fired home from a tight angle to leave their scottish hosts floored.

The only downside to the weekend for the Steelers came when the final buzzer sounded , bringing an end to Brendan Connolly’s remarkable 22-game scoring streak.

Tanner Eberle shares a few words with Guildford's Jesse Craige, the Steelers' forward scoring twice in the 6-2 win over the Flames. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

Tanner Eberle shares a few words with Guildford's Jesse Craige, the Steelers' forward scoring twice in the 6-2 win over the Flames. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

"Any time you can pick up two points in this league you are going to be pretty satisfied," said head coach Aaron Fox after the win in Glasgow. "We're a resilient group right now and we're finding ways to win hockey games that maybe we don't deserve to.

"In the first period I thought Glasgow were all over us but we managed it and were only down a goaland then we got some goaltending in the middle there and our special teams did a pretty good job again and we found a way to kill the big penalties again there near the end.

"And it was a huge period for us, we seem to score in bunches and as long as we can manage a game I feel like we always have a chance, it doesn't matter how much time is left in that game."

On Saturday, it was Connolly who struck first for the Steelers to continue his rich vein of scoring form, firing home at 8.47 to swiftly cancel out Ian Watters’s slightly fortuitous opener a minute earlier.

HAPPY DAYS: Sheffield Steelers' head coach, Aaron Fox. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

HAPPY DAYS: Sheffield Steelers' head coach, Aaron Fox. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

The game remained a keenly-fought affair until the next goal finally arrived in the 28th minute, Eberle dancing his way through to score on the power play, with another goal on the man advantage coming two minutes later from Connolly.

The third period was all Steelers, Eberle quickly making it 4-1 at 41.57 before a DeLuca penalty shot put the game beyond doubt, Josel Hrabal scoring his first goal for the club at 47.21 before Jamie Crooks scored a consolation effort for the Flames.

Steelers’ mood was lifted even more in front of the bumper crowd when news filtered through of second-placed Cardiff Devils losing 4-1 at Manchester Storm.

It meant Aaron Fox’s team went five points clear, although Cardiff - still with three games in hand - ensured that gap didn't get any bigger when they were made to fight all the way for a 6-4 home win over Fife Flyers on Sunday.