Steelers dominated from the first minute to outclass the visiting Fife Flyers by five goals to nil tonight. Mikko Juusola netted twice and picked up an assist on a Petgrave goal in the first, before Whistle added one in second, backed up with a fifth by Watling in the third to add two further points to an early league leading position in the Elite League.
After a fourth successive Challenge Cup victory last night against the Nottingham Panthers, the Steelers were back home tonight to welcome the Fife Flyers for the first time this season.
Greenfield was back in goal as he replaced Morrone who picked up his second competitive victory last night. All the out-skaters took to the ice for warmup as Coach Fox left it late to name his scratch, who in the end was named as Kameron Kielly as Nevalainen came back into the line-up.
Fox would have been looking for more of the same from his squad who were on a six-game unbeaten run before face-off, on the hunt for more points to cement their early lead at the top of the Elite League table.
An utterly dominant first period for the Steelers saw them leading by three goals after twenty minutes as Juusola picked up two goals and an assist to contribute on all three occasions. In all, the Steelers outshot the Flyers by 16 to 3 on target as the offense was rampant throughout.
It was however a defenceman that got the Steelers their first goal, early in the period at (1.52) as Petgrave picked the puck up from Juusola in the slot and ripped one up high on Owen. Watling picking up the second assist.
After blood was cleared up form the ice from Chiodo taking a puck to the face, the Steelers went back to work sending puck after puck onto Owen’s goal. At (5.45), Fife were able to kill off a Desrocher penalty for tripping, but lasted less than a minute before the Steelers were two ahead.
Goal timed at (8.31) as our two native Finns combined when Nevalainen found Juusola in a similar position in the slot as Petgrave earlier and he also found nothing but net above Owen’s glove.
Just over two minutes later at (10.50) and Juusola had three points to his name as the Steelers slick passing in the offensive zone went tic-tac-toe between Tansey, Watling and Juusola who finished into a gaping goal as Owen was unable to scramble across his crease.
The Steelers headed into the second period looking for much more of the same.
The Steelers continued to dominate for the next twenty minutes, often looking like a constant powerplay for the men in orange. By the time the buzzer went, the Steelers had put 40 shots on Owen’s goal to only 7 managed by the travelling Flyers.
The Flyers did however manage to kill off an actual penalty at (27.37) when Hawerchuk was sent to sit for holding on Nicholls near his own bench.
The relentless forecheck from the Steelers however came too much for the Flyers at (30.33) when Shudra put the pressure on and won the puck back in the Flyers zone and found Whistle out in-front of Owen’s goal who saw the puck home for this first of the season.
Owen, as he normally does in this building continued to show his class around net and kept the goals down to only one in the period as the Steelers took the four-goal lead into the third period.
55 shots on goal to the Flyers 10 by the end of the sixty minutes confirmed the Steelers dominance throughout the fixture, despite the Steelers only being able to add one further goal in the third.
The fifth and final goal coming at (55.00) thanks to Patrick Watling who received the puck from Kevin Tansey in the Flyers zone and thanks to a fortunate bounce of a Flyer’s defencemen’s stick found its way past Shane Owen.
The Steelers continued to put pressure on the Flyers net, but Owen couldn’t be beaten anymore despite the Steelers best efforts to feed Juusola the puck for his hat trick on a late powerplay.
Awards & Table
As seems to be inevitable when Shane Owen visits the Utilta Arena, Owen was awarded with the Flyers Man of the Match award. Two goals and three points for Mikko Juusola was enough to earn him the Steelers award as he took to the range for a bit of golf, caddied well by Marco Vallerand.
Two more points tonight gives the Steelers 12 points from 7 games and continues to see them hold their early lead at the top of the Elite League.
The Steelers now have the week to recover before another all-action weekend as the Nottingham Panthers are in town on Saturday night, before we take a tip to tonight’s opponents, Fife Flyers on Sunday night. 7pm face-off on Saturday – see you there!