A night full of emotion around the Utilita Arena tonight as the Steelers returned to remember those who fell for our today before we raised the roof for Adam Johnson.
The Steelers then came out with the two points on offer, but needed overtime for Captain, Robert Dowd to take the win with a perfectly timed backhanded tip past Taran Kozun.
It has been a very long two weeks Sheffield, but the Steelers finally returned home tonight to take on the Coventry Blaze in league action after victory on their return to action last night in Manchester against the Storm.
Of course, pre-game was all about #47, Adam Johnson along with an opportunity to pay our respects to those that gave their tomorrow for our today. The club was extremely proud to have representatives from the Royal Air Force on ice to lay a wreath, which was then followed by the laying of a wreath for Adam at centre ice by both Aaron Fox and Danny Stewart. An impeccable two minutes silence was then held before one minute of rapturous applause for AJ – hockey fans, you are special.
For team news, Matt Greenfield was back between the pipes in the place of Anthony Morrone who helped take the victory last night.
A win tonight would take the Steelers back to the top of the table, level with the Cardiff Devils but with two games in hand, so all to play for…
First Period (1-0)
The Steelers went to work from the get-go and had much the better of the first twenty minutes, out-shooting the Blaze by 16 to 6 on goal despite Greenfield having to play a portion of the period without a stick having been upended early in the period behind his own goal.
However, the Steelers were one up at (7.45) as Neumann bagged his first goal in eight games thanks to some lovely passing play between Nuemann, Saucerman and Ciampini after Neumann won the puck back in his own defensive zone.
The Steelers continued to press and drew two penalties in the 15th and 19th minute but were unable to convert as the Steelers would start with the man advantage in the second.
Second Period (1-0)
A comfortable twenty minutes for the Steelers in the second, adding a further eight shots to their on-shot goal tally as the Blaze only managed a further five.
However, neither team was able to add to the scoreline as the Steelers took the one goal lead into the third.
A poignant moment in the second at 22 minutes as Matt Petgrave received the applause of over 8,000 fans in the 22nd minute to remind him of our love and support.
There was action around the Steelers bench as Kielly and Kristo got tied up and threw a few glove punches as they were both sent to the box for roughing.
The Steelers would start the third period with the extra man again as Hopkins was sent to the box late in the period at (39.37) for holding.
Third Period (1-1)
Despite the Steelers adding a further 20 shots to their tally on Kozun’s goal, it was the Blaze who managed to level up the game in the third period.
The goal coming half-way through the period at (50.37) when the J.D. Dudek went forehand-backhand on Greenfield to beat him five-hole from in close. Assists credited to Luciani and Clements who had earlier in the period took a while to return to his feet after a knock to the head behind Greenfield’s goal.
Before the goal, the roof was raised once again for Adam Johnson in the 47th minute as the fans in attendance rose to their feet and applauded throughout the minute in his honour.
The Blaze then managed to kill off a Luciani tripping penalty late in the 57th minute to take the game to 3 on 3 overtime.
It took a couple of line changes from both sides before the first grade-A chance came the way of Patrick Watling for the Steelers, in all alone on Kozun after great work on Tansey to take the puck off his man, but his effort just took the shoulder of Kozun and over the bar.
But cometh the hour, cometh your captain Robert Dowd to seal the two points for your Sheffield Steelers with a perfectly timed backhanded tip to a cross zone pass from Mitchell Balmas to send the arena into raptures!
Awards & Table
For his 42 saves from 44, Taran Kozun was awarded with the Covetry Blaze’s Man of the Match award before Robert Dowd was sent on an Eddy for his game-winning overtime goal and was joined at centre ice by his teammates to show their love and appreciation for the fans in attendance and at home.
The table looks very positive now for the Steelers, heading up the pack on level points with the Cardiff Devils with games in hand.
It is a double header weekend at home for the Steelers next week as the Belfast Giants are in town on Saturday night before the Glasgow Clan take a trip down from Scotland for two league encounters. 7pm face-off on Saturday night, with a 4pm face-off on Sunday in another one of our £8 all in ticket specials.