Steelers keep it clean to close on Panthers

HULL Stingrays’ player-coach Sylvain Cloutier admitted his team were outplayed after Sheffield Steelers eased to a 4-0 win in the Elite League last night.

The result took Steelers above Belfast Giants and into second place in the overall league standings, three points behind leaders Nottingham Panthers having played a game more.

The top two meet in a mouthwatering encounter at the National Ice Centre on Friday night and it is the Steelers who carry all the form into the game having now won their last seven games.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Shawn Limpright was the Steelers hero at the Motorpoint Arena last night, scoring a hat-trick, with Simon Ferguson also getting on the scoresheet.

But, just as impressively following Saturday night’s 3-0 win over the Fife Flyers at the same venue, it meant Ryan Finnerty’s side managed to avoid conceding a goal all weekend – another impressive statistic to bear in mind ahead of their trip to attack-minded Nottingham on Friday.

Scott Champagne Steven Goertzen and Lee Esders were on target against the Flyers on what was another comfortable night for the hosts.

For Hull, a win last night wouldn’t have been enough to lift them off the bottom anyway but, following a 2-1 win over fourth-placed Cardiff Devils at home on Saturday, they remain close enough to their rivals in the race to make the play-offs.

A 58th-minute power play strike from Kurtis Dulle proved decisive at Hull Arena, after Dominic Osman’s 20th-minute goal had cancelled out Jesse Gimblett’s opener for Cardiff only 43 seconds earlier.

It marked Hull’s fourth win of the season over the Devils, enough for Cloutier to avoid getting too down about last night’s reverse in South Yorkshire.

“Sheffield showed us how to play hockey,” said Cloutier.

“They are a really good team and they controlled the game from start to finish. They are in the zone right now. From playing them earlier in the season to now, they are a totally different team.

“But we got a massive win against Cardiff and now we have five Gardinder Conference games in a row coming up – that is our focus now.”