The Steelers opened their defence of the Challenge Cup off at breakneck speed when blasting Manchester Storm 8-3 before coming from behind to beat Cardiff Devils 5-4 in overtime in their first regular season league game of the campaign.
The Steelers were made to do it the hard way against the Devils, clawing their way back into the game after they were 4-2 down with less than seven minutes remaining before Evan Mosey hit an overtime winner past his former club.
Brodie Reid had put the visitors - who had former Steelers’ defenceman Ben O’Connor in their ranks - ahead at 17.12 only for the Steelers to hit back with two inside two minutes early in the second, Mosey adding to Connolly’s effort at 21.58.
Reid doubled his tally within a minute of Mosey’s go-ahead goal at 24.28 before, three minutes later, Stephen Dixon gave the visitors the lead for a second time.
Reid then completed a memorable night with his hat-trick strike at 43.58 and it looked like the Devils were home and dry. But a power play strike from Martin Latal at 53.36 gave the hosts’ hope, the noise from the 6,000-plus fans becoming even louder when John Armstrong levelled at 57.18, setting up Mosey for his sweet strike just over three minutes into overtime.
“That felt pretty good, I won’t lie - I thought we got off to the perfect start against Cardiff,” said Steelers’ head coach Fox, whose team last faced off against the Devils back in March 2020 when beating them in the Challenge Cup Final in South Wales, their last game before the pandemic caused the season to be shut down.
“We got rewarded and in the first 10-12 minutes I felt we dominated, their goalie stood on his head and played really well. Then I felt we lost our way a little bit in the middle part of that game, I felt like we lost our legs - maybe that was to do with it being the second of back-to-back nights and only having been on the ice for two weeks.
“And we were running a thin bench and we just tried to keep putting pressure on and found a way to claw it back to tie the game and finish it in overtime.”
On Saturday, uick out of the blocks, Aaron Fox’s team raced into a 3-0 lead in Altrincham within 13 minutes, Tanner Eberle striking after just 55 seconds with Mosey twice finding the net.
The Storm got on the board early in the second through Tysam Fawcett but found themselves three adrift again when Brendan Connolly found a way past Matt Ginn at 27.01.
Dallas Ehrhardt hit back three minutes later and made it a one-goal game with his second of the night at 48.32.
But, again, the hosts allowed the Steelers to strike back, Eberle doubling the visitors’ advantage at 49.58 before power play strikes from Marc-Olivier Vallerand and Anthony DeLuca made the game safe, Robert Dowd adding another goal for good measure with 10 seconds remaining.