SHEFFIELD STEELERS endured an inconsistent weekend on home ice, following up a win against Guildford Flames with defeat to Glasgow Clan.
In truth, last night’s clash against the Clan was never in doubt after the first period when Zack Fitzgerald’s side – including former Steelers’ forward Mathieu Roy – found themselves 4-0 ahead.
Chad Rau got the ball rolling at 9.13 for Glasgow when he was the lucky recipient of a puck bouncing in front off the post to slot home with goaltender Tomas Duba - who had made the initial save from Nolan LaPorte - stranded.
It got much worse for the hosts when Rasmus Bjerrum struck at 11:24 with a sweet top-corner strike after a turnover just inside the Steelers’ zone and then again at 13:56, when he was left alone in front of the net at which point Duba was pulled for Pavel Kantor.
However, any hopes of relief for the home side were dashed with just 12 seconds of the period remaining when Matt Stantisz converted a rebound from in front on the powerplay to make it 4-0.
The Steelers finally got on the board just after the halfway mark when Ben O’Connor’s perfect pass found Anthony DeLuca who skated free to score at 31:51. But the second goal was a long time coming, DeLuca getting on the scoresheet again when he pounced on a loose puck in front of Patrick Killeen’s net after good energy and work from Marc Olivier-Vallerand at 47.54. Try as they might it was another 10 minutes or so before the Steelers were able to give themselves a glimmer of hope, but, in truth Robert Dowd’s powerplay effort with just 79 seconds remaining was nothing more than a late consolation, the damage from the first period proving too great.
“We can’t give teams four goals in the first and expect to score six or seven every night,” said Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox. “But we’ll take it as a learning experience here – we’ve got to be ready to play for 60 minutes.
“I thought we came out and played the first five minutes or so really well, were all over them, but we didn’t get rewarded and then we gave up that first one, which I thought was a bit of a lucky bounce.
“The second one was where we turned the puck over at the blue line, probably a play we shouldn’t make, then they get two more and we give up three in six minutes but, for the other 54 minutes of that hockey game, I felt we were dominant.
“I had us at 39-7 in shots in the second and the third and if you run those sorts of numbers you should really score more than three goals, but when you try to claw back from that kind of hole it makes the game really hard.
If you run those sorts of numbers you should really score more than three goals, but when you try to claw back from that kind of hole it makes the game really hard.Aaron Fox
“Guys fought and battled hard but we’ve just got to make sure we learn from this.”
It was a different story 24 hours earlier at the FlyDSA Arena when the Steelers recovered from going a goal behind against Guildford via Ian Watters’s strike at 3.25.
John Armstrong levelled at 14:41, but it was almost 20 minutes before the next goal arrived, crucially for the hosts, when Brendan Connolly finished off neatly in the slot from a Rob Dowd feed at 33.35.
Fellow forward Marc-Olivier Vallerand ensured it would be an impressive four straight victories for the Steelers with two power play strikes in the last 10 minutes.