January 6, 2012

Sheffield Steelers Come Out on Top Again

Friday night saw a rare televised game over here in the UK as the Sheffield Steelers visited the Blaze at the Sky Dome Arena in Coventry.

An entertaining 1st period saw Coventry have the better of the early exchanges but it was Sheffield who took the lead as ex Blaze forward Luke Fulgham pounced on a puck after good pressure from Phillips and Finnerty,  deked around Hirsch in the Coventry net and finished from a wide angle.

Sheffield had to then kill off their first 2 minutes of the night as Jason Hewitt sat for tripping but Coventry couldn’t force an equaliser as they pressured the Steelers net.

Infact it was Ramsay who made it 2-0 for Sheffield at 8.37. Jeff Legue led from the red line on a 2 on 1 and his pass to Ramsay was just about directed towards net and the puck seemed to squirm up and over Hirsch on his stick side.

It was soon 3-0 as Jason Hewitt picked up a rebound off a Matt Stephenson shot at 10.05 as Paul Thompson called a time out from the Coventry bench.

This stemmed the flow of goals from Sheffield who in all honesty were lucky to be leading by 3 so early. The game had been pretty even with the Steelers seeming to be getting the bounce of the puck as well as being clinical with their chances.

The first minute of the third period saw Birnstall and Hewitt in the box for Sheffield whilst Farmer went for Coventry which gave the Blaze another powerplay opportunity that they couldn’t capitalize on.

Coventry would come to rue some bad powerplay time as the game went on as Sheffield made it 4-0 at 10.45 of the 2nd. It was Mike Ramsay’s 2nd of the game on a Steelers powerplay as Ashley Tait found the inform wingman all alone and he buried the puck low past Hirsch.

Robert Farmer then decided he would try and get the Blaze team going after a little skirmish infront of the Steelers net. He dropped his gloves in anticipation Mark Thomas was going to dance with him but his ex team mate declined. Amazingly Farmer wasn’t called for his actions and only Jason Hewitt was called for  his 3rd 2 minute penalty of the night, this time for a hook in the build up before the fracas. However, Coventry still couldn’t get anything going to get back into the game.

They did finally manage to get on the board with 6.30 left on the period as Bryan Jurynec tucked the puck in quickly after a big rebound was given out by John DeCaro off a Jeremie Domish blast from distance.
There was an immediate chance for a 2nd as Mike Ramsay gave up a puck infront of his netminder but this time DeCaro made a great glove save to deny the Blaze. DeCaro then made his 2nd great stop of the period as he got a piece of one shot with his glove and as it went over his shoulder he manged to get back down to deny the Blaze forwards crashing the net trying to force home the loose puck.

There was certainly a momentum change after the Blaze goal as Coventry tried but failed to get a 2nd before the end of the period.

Coventry would however come out for the 3rd period with around 1 minute 20 left on a powerplay opportunity but yet again they couldn’t click on this as the period had an extremely scrappy start to it.
The Blaze would then have 4 consecutive powerplays from 7 minutes into the period without managing to create too many great chances on them.

Mike McLean had the best chance of all but he somehow managed to hit the post with the cage wide open infront of him.

The Steelers saw out the remainder of the game and despite being outshot 33-25 and taking 20 PIMS to the Blaze 8 they held on to that 4-1 scoreline and the 2 points were heading back to Sheffield.

The Steelers now head to Kirkcaldy for a Saturday night game against the Fife Flyers and then over to Edinburgh on Sunday to finish off 3 games in 3 nights with a tough tie against the ever improving Capitals.

- Adam Yates

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