Sheffield Steelers and Sheffield Steeldogs both downed but stay ahead of respective chasing packs

SHEFFIELD STEELERS saw their lead at the top of the Elite League standings reduced to three points after they were hammered 5-0 at home by Cardiff Devils.

TOUGH NIGHT: Sheffield Steelers' head coach, Aaron Fox. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

Aaron Fox’s team – who this week head to Denmark to contest the Continental Cup – effectively lost the game in the first period when they found themselvers 3-0 down through goals from Sam Duggan, Justin Crandall and Cole Sanford inside 13 minutes.

Any hopes of a comeback were killed just over five minutes into the second period as a ruthlessly efficient Cardiff team – fresh from beating Guildford Flames 4-3 after a shootout in the Challenge Cup on home ice the previous night – put the game beyond doubt.

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Brandon McNally made it 4-0 on the powerplay at 20.27 before Sanford grabbed his second of the night at 25.29.

ON TARGET: Sheffield Steeldogs' James Spurr was part of a third period comeback at Peterborough which fell just short. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The previous evening, the Steelers strengthened their grip on top spot in Group C of the Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win at Nottingham Panthers.

Rob Dowd got the Steelers on the board early in the seventh minute on the powerplay, although Nottingham were to level through the Steelers’ forward’s GB team-mate Matthew Myers – also on the man advantage – at 27.42. But the Steelers were to get their noses in front again when Matias Sointu struck with 59 seconds remaining in the period, with Martin Latal doubling the lead just over three minutes into the third, which was enough to secure a sixth win out of seven for the visitors.

In NIHL National, Sheffield Steeldogs saw their five-game winning streak ended with a 4-3 defeat at an improving Peterborough Phantoms.

Three goals inside five first-period minutes saw the home side establish a grip on the game with Nathan Pollard, Duncan Speirs and Jasper Foster all finding a way past Dmitri Zimozdra.

ON TARGET: Brandon Whistle scored for Leeds Knights in their 6-2 home defeat to Peterborough Phantoms Picture: Bruce Rollinson

However, the Steeldogs – who beat Raiders IHC 4-2 on home ice the previous night – staged a stirring fightback to level through second period goals from James Spurr and Nathan Ripley, the latter then equalising at 47.43.

But a power play strike from Luc Johnson at 55.42 settled matters in favour of the hosts.

Leeds Knights were brought crashing back down to earth after Friday night’s Autmn Cup heroics which saw them reach the final at the expense of the Steeldogs when edging the second leg of their semi-final 6-5 at Elland Road.

That win helped them secure a 9-6 aggregate triumph to set up a final – expected to be staged in December – against either Telford Tigers or Swindon Wildcats, who play the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday, with the Wiltshire club leading 6-3 from the first encounter.

On Saturday, Adam Barnes was still missing through illness, while Friday’s two-goal hero Harry Gulliver was back on duty with parent club Manchester Storm as Peterborough paid a second visit of the season to West Yorkshire.

After a goalless first period, the Phantoms took control midway through the second when they got ahead through Morgan Clarke-Pizzo at 29.11.

The lead increased at 34.11 through Nathan Salem with Clarke-Pizzo grabbing his second at 38.36 before Kieran Brown gave the hosts some hope with a reply soon after.

But the game got further away in the third when Ales Padelek and Clarke-Pizzo’s hat-trick strike extending the deficit to four goals.

Brandon Whistle hit back at 55.40 but with Knights’ netminder Jordan McLaughlin pulled, Duncan Speirs scored an empty netter.