Challenge Cup Champions On Home Ice – Steelers 3:1 Flames

Game Summary

The Steelers lifted the Challenge Cup on home ice tonight, coming out victorious over the Guilford Flames by three goals to one.

Damage done in the first two periods with Diffley finishing at the back door from a Dowd feed in only the second minute which was doubled late in the period via a Watling powerplay snipe.

Cherry on the cake in second with the perfect tip from Mitchell Balmas sealed the deal as the first cup of the season in now in the hands of your Sheffield Steelers!

First Period [2-1]

As to be expected from a Cup final, it was a high tempo, fast and physical game throughout the first twenty with a late powerplay goal from Patrick Watling giving the Steelers a one goal lead heading into the second period.

The Steelers having much the better of the period, unlucky not to be up by more than the one goal although the shot count was pretty even at ten to eight in favour of the home team.

The home team getting off to the best possible start helping settle the home crowds’ nerves with an early goal with only two minutes on the board. Captain Dowd stepping up early to grab the puck in the Flames zone, twisting and turning around his man before firing the puck over to Brien Diffley lurking at the back post who made no mistake sending it home into the back of Burman’s open goal.

Continued pressure for the Steelers looked like it would pay off on several occasions with Dowd getting a chance of his own at the back post, but Burman was equal to effort, getting across his crease well.

Out of nowhere, the Flames were back level at (13.48). Flames defensemen, Bradley Lalonde picking up the puck in his own zone and setting off at speed to take the Steelers blue line and fire an effort through the legs of Sam Jones and rip one top shelf past Greenfield who picked up the puck late with the screen.

A physical but disciplined display from both sides with no penalties until the 17th minute when Ferguson was sent to the box for slashing the wrists of Watling heading towards the Flames goal. The penalty costing the Flames big with Watling back on the ice after the slash and being fed the puck by Cormier with only 19 seconds left in the period to snipe home a wonderful finish across the body of Burnham to take a two to one lead into the second period.

Second Period [3-1]

Another goal for the Steelers in the second twenty doubled their lead as the Flames were left goalless throughout the period despite the statistics showing the Flames having the better of the shot count. Credit to the Steelers defence keeping those efforts on the large to the outside with Greenfield also making a couple of top-quality pad saves.

Another early goal in the period again for the Steelers at (24.35) with Diffley going one plus one, assisting a Mitchell Balmas tip from close range past Burnam.

Defence called upon again soon after with Diffley then back on the play but sent to the penalty box this time as he sent the puck straight out of play but the penalty killers did their job with minimal efforts on the goal of Greenfield.

The Flames looking for a spark through some big hits but going too far in the middle of the period as Klimek was called for boarding and attracted the attention of Cole Shudra sticking up for his linemate.

The Steelers continuing to push to extend their lead in the second half of the period often having opportunities for odd man rushes but struggling to control the puck at the right time as the hot building made puck control difficult with the ice clearly melting on the top layer. Mikko Juusola also struggling to take control of the puck exiting the box after a questionable tripping call as he looked clear to go one on one with Burman.

But the Steelers would have been happy with their forty minutes of work heading into the final period of regulation with a two goal lead.

Third Period [3-1]

Job complete in the first two periods as the Steelers saw out the final twenty minute despite sustained pressure from the Guildford Flames who kept going all night and all credit to them for making a great game for the sell out and TV crowd.

The customary shout out for the imperious Matt Greenfield who was once again on fire in third period shutting the door on Guildford saving 34 of his 35 shots for a stunning 97.14% save percentage.