Sheffield Steelers power back to top of Elite League with maximum return

MAGIC MOMENT: Brendan Connolly celebrates his overtime winner against Nottingham with the Sheffield Steelers' fans. Picture: Dean Woolley.
MAGIC MOMENT: Brendan Connolly celebrates his overtime winner against Nottingham with the Sheffield Steelers' fans. Picture: Dean Woolley.
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SHEFFIELD STEELERS charged back to the top of the Elite League standings with a four-point weekend that was rounded off with an 8-3 thrashing of Coventry Blaze.

Defeat for Glasgow Clan on Saturday night at home to Guildford Flames left the Steelers knowing they could - having already beaten Nottingham Panthers 5-4 in overtime - replace their Scottish rivals at the summit.

They did so in some style, but only after going behind to a fifth-minute strike from Coventry’s Charles Corcoran.

After that, however, it was all Steelers, who got themselves level at 6.45 through John Armstrong and three goals clear by the first break after Jonathan Philips, Nikolai Lemtyugov and Tanner Eberle joined him on the scoresheet.

The lead was stretched to four goals through Marek Troncinsky less than two minutes into the second period, Coventry finally hitting back through a second for Corcoran just after the halfway mark.

It was just under another 20 minutes before the goal-line was breached again, the Steelers restoring their four-goal lead through Eric Meland at 48.40 with the visitors’ second short-handed strike of the night, the lead becoming 7-2 through Brendan Connolly’s power play effort less than two minutes later.

Alex Forbes quickly replied for the Blaze, but their miserable night was completed when Troncinsky fired in his second with 64 seconds remaining.

It was a total contrast to Saturday’s first league meeting of the season against the Panthers when the Steelers had to come from two goals down to win in overtime through Connolly.
Armstrong was first to strike for the hosts with only 53 seconds on the clock, the lead doubled through Aaron Brocklehurst at 12.50.

But former Steelers’ defenceman Mark Matheson scored the first of four unanswered goals for the Panthers, his 14th-minute effort being enhanced by strikes from Brett Perlini (2) and Brett Bulmer to put their side 4-2 ahead just before the halfway mark.

Marc-Olivier Vallerand made it a one-goal game again at 35.25 and it was all-square in the 48th-minute thanks to Meland, setting up Connolly to be the hero when he secured the extra point with just 21 seconds of overtime remaining.

THAT'LL DO NICELY: Eric Meland celebrates his game-tying goal in the third period against Nottingham on Saturday night. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

THAT'LL DO NICELY: Eric Meland celebrates his game-tying goal in the third period against Nottingham on Saturday night. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.