Sheffield Steeldogs edged out in derby duel with Hull Seahawks
The defeat at Ice Sheffield saw the Steeldogs drop to eighth in the NIHL National standings and was the latest setback for the South Yorkshire club in what has been a stop-start opening to the 2023-24 campaign.
It was the Steeldogs who enjoyed the brighter start when Vladislavs Vulkanovs pounced on a loose puck inside the crease to poke home inside two minutes.
The Seahawks, looking for a third straight win, were level before the first intermission, though. Good work driving into the zone from defenceman Brock Bartholemew saw him go close to scoring before the puck broke for Tom Stubley, his pass picking out Bobby Chamberlain, who fired home first time from the bottom of the left circle.
Chances came and went at both ends in an open encounter, with Hewitt (pictured), Jonathan Phillips and Matt Bissonnette all having clear opportunities to restore the home side’s lead.
They were made to pay when Emil Svec broke down the left on a 2-on-1 before beating Dimitri Zimozdra low to his right to make it 2-1.
Both sides continued to create opportunities but both Zimozdra and Jordan McLaughlin at the opposite end remained solid until another loose puck in front of the net fell kindly for Hewitt to poke home and level the scores at 49.54.
Overtime looked probable until, moments after the Steeldogs had just killed off a penalty, Hull’s Nathan Salem gathered the puck in centre ice and danced through on net before lifting the puck over Zimozdra at 56.04.
“I actually think we had the better of the chances but we didn’t quite convert when we had those chances,” said Steeldogs’ player-coach Hewitt. “But I think right now the frustration is the manner in which we are losing.
“It is frustrating, but it keeps happening and we’ll address it.”
Elsewhere, leaders Leeds Knights stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 6-4 victory at Raiders IHC, the goals coming from Kieran Brown (2), Matt Haywood (2), Mac Howlett and Josh Adkins.