A 5-3 win on the road at third-placed Cardiff Devils was followed by a hard-fought 3-1 win on home ice against Dundee Stars, the results enough to leave them three points clear of second-placed Guildford Flames with two games in hand.
Cardiff are two points further back having played the same number of games as Aaron Fox’s team, the Steelers’ head coach understandably delighted with his players’ efforts.
“These are two huge wins for us in the grand scheme of things,” said Fox. “Especially with how short-benched we’ve been lately.
“In Cardiff, we played a huge 60-minute hockey game, got off to a 4-0 lead and played pretty much perfect hockey down there.
“I’m proud of this group these past 2-3 weeks with the numbers that we’ve had to run with – we’ve still found ways to win which says a lot.”
Fox felt his team produced one of their best opening periods at home this season, but were left frustrated to go in at the break just 1-0 ahead through Evan Mosey’s 17th-minute power play strike.
Martin Latal doubled the lead at 24.09, although Dundee proved they were up for the fight when Charlie Combs halved the deficit just after the halfway mark.
Tanner Eberle made sure of the points when he struck just over three minutes into the third.
The Steelers built a 4-0 lead in Cardiff, Latal opening the visitors’ account at 4.25 with captain Jonathan Phillips doubling their advantage at 30.55.
Debutant Vojtech Polak opened his account at 49.05, his strike quickly followed by another from Marc-Olivier Vallerand.
Cardiff pulled it back to 4-3 with power play strikes from Cole Sanford and Brodie Reid and a Stephen Dixon effort at 59.07, but Keaton Ellerby’s empty-netter at 59.50 ensured a deserved two points for the visitors.
In NIHL National, Leeds Knights bounced back from a 4-2 defeat Milton Keynes Lightning with a deserved 5-3 victory at Bees IHC last night.