SHEFFIELD STEELDOGS ended their four-game losing streak in convincing fashion when they gained swift revenge on Yorkshire rivals Leeds Chiefs.
The Chiefs – who lost to Sheffield on the opening night of the NIHL National season – had returned to ice Sheffield 10 days ago to pull off a 3-2 win.
But the Steeldogs were determined to return to winning ways on the road against the Chiefs and were good value for their 6-3 triumph.
Billed as a home game for Leeds, it was anything but, this latest all-Yorkshire derby played across the Pennines in Lancashire at Blackburn Ice Arena.
The Chiefs couldn’t have got off to a worse start, falling behind at 2.42 to a strike from Cam Brownley, although that was soon cancelled out by import forward Andres Kopstals.
Again Ben Morgan’s team got their noses in front, this time from Jan Danecek at 17.49 and although the Chiefs got themselves level again early in the second when Brodie Jesson pounced, that was the last time they would enjoy parity.
We were quite dominant on 5-on-5, we skated hard, we drew a lot penalties and our special teams worked hard too. It was a pretty convincing win overall.”Sheffield Steeldogs’ player-coach, Ben Morgan.
Sheffield went ahead for a third time through Nathan Salem at 30.24, with the same player doubling his tally on the power play shortly before the end of the period.
The Chiefs enjoyed more puck possession in the third but couldn’t find a way past a resolute Steeldogs, who killed the game off with two goals in 74 seconds, James Spurr’s strike at 52.19 followed by a second effort from the impressive Danecek.
“It was good to end that small losing streak we were on,” said Morgan afterwards. “I would have liked the scoreline to be higher in our favour, but it was good to get bak to winning ways.
“It was pleasing to get a good, all-round 60 minutes. We were quite dominant on 5-on-5, we skated hard, we drew a lot penalties and our special teams worked hard too. It was a pretty convincing win overall.”
On Saturday the Chiefs went down 5-3 to second-placed Telford Tigers, getting themselves 3-2 ahead after the first period through goals from Kopstals, Radek Meidl and Steven Moore.
Telford levelled early in the second through Thomas McKinnon and that was how it stayed until the last three minutes when Scott McKenzie’s power play strike separated the two teams again, Andrew McKinney ensuring there was to be no comeback when he made it 5-3 shortly after.
But Telford were to come unstuck 24 hours later when they came off second-best at Hull Pirates.
Jason Hewitt’s side won 5-4 in overtime, the player-coach scoring the crucial goal himself to move his team back above the Steeldogs, but still level on points.
Four times the hosts took thelead, four times the Tigers came roaring back. Four goals went in during as many first-period minutes with Lee Bonner’s strike at 12.21 starting the process.
Daniel Mitchell levelled just over two minutes later but it only too 56 seconds for Bonner to put his team ahead again, only for Andrew McKinney to level 13 seconds after that.
Three more goals followed in the middle period, Bobby Chamberlain making it 3-2 to the Pirates at 23.57, with Jack Watkins levelling for a third time at 29.13.
Hewitt struck his first of the night at 35.13 but, just 58 seconds into the third, Scott McKenzie tied things up once again, the scene eventually being set for the Hull player-coach to work his magic on overtime.