The Steelers run out comfortable winners over the Nottingham Panthers on Boxing Day as a brace from Robert Dowd was added to by Vallerand, Neumann and Shudra to add two more points to their league leading points total.
The Steelers started bright, using their speed to cause the Panthers defence issues, getting two ahead through the Captain early, but a short-handed goal via Roy brought the contest back to within one. However, form there on in, it was all Steelers as Vallerand added his first home goal of the season before Neumann extended the lead in the second, finished off by a rocket from Cole Shudra in the third.
There was also a huge winner off the ice as the Steelers 50/50 sellers smashed the record prize – Wow Sheffield! A big congratulations to the winners!
The main event of Christmas was finally here. Santa may have arrived on Boxing Day Eve, but today was the big one – a full sellout at the Utilita Arena as the Sheffield Steelers took on the Nottingham Panthers in Elite League action.
With a convincing four-nil victory over the Cardiff Devils on Saturday night, Coach Fox called on the same team with the addition of Brit, Finlay Ulrick as Zach Vinnell was again named as healthy scratch.
First Period (3-1)
The Steelers clearly held back on the Turkey yesterday as they came out flying from the start, putting pressure on Robinson’s goal.
The pressure was rewarded early as Captain, Robert Dowd got the Steelers on the scoreboard at (3.34) with a nice finish at the back post courtesy of a perfect pass to the tape from Brien Diffley.
Dominic Cormier then began to cause problems with his speed, setting off from behind his own net and dancing his way around the Panthers to get his shot away on Robinson who had to take a couple of grabs at the puck before covering.
Copy and paste at (11.41) as the Steelers went two up with another finish at the back post by Robert Dowd, this time provided by Marco Vallerand from behind the goal of Robinson as Mitchell Balmas picked up the secondary assist.
Cormier continued to frustrate the Panthers and collided with Kelsall behind is own net. Cormier held his cool as Kelsall dropped his gloves early and was sent to the box for delaying the game as Cormier smiled and skated in the opposite direction.
The penalty however worked in the Panthers favour as they got themselves back within one at (16.00) short-handed after Roy found himself all alone in-front of Greenfield and beat him up high.
However, the two-goal lead was reinstated shortly afterwards at (17.25) as Marco Vallerand picked up his second point of the night and first home goal of the season before the penalty was over from his favourite place at the right-wing face-off circle beating Robinson down low. Assists to Ciampini and Balmas on this one.
The Steelers outshot the Panthers by eleven to five on the period as they took the two-goal lead into the second period.
Second Period (4-1)
The Steelers left it late but added a fourth in the second twenty to extend their lead heading into the third period.
Greenfield was called on more in the second period as the Panthers gave themselves better chances to get themselves back into the game, but Greenfield came up big when called upon as the Panthers were stalled by regular infringements.
The third of those penalties, called on Henbrant for holding the stick was costly for the Panthers as the Steelers scored their fourth of the evening at (39.06) thanks to Brett Neumann who found himself some space in the slot, picked up the puck from Josh Nicholls to spin, shoot and beat Robinson over the shoulder as Juusola got the secondary assist this time.
Another good period for the Steelers who looked comfortable heading into the third with a three goal advantage.
Third Period (5-1)
A blue-line rocket from Cole Shudra added another in the third period to help the Steelers see out a comfortable victory over the Nottingham Panthers and add another two points to their league leading total.
It was also Shudra who picked up the only penalty of the third period as he took his place on the defensive unit for the last twenty and was called for hooking close in on Greenfield’s goal.
However, he more than made up for the infringement at (49.50) as Nicholls jumped onto an Allen face-off win in the Panthers zone and squared it to Shudra who’s one-timer was too hot for Robinson.
And that was enough for the Steelers to seal the deal, finishing with 27 shots on the Panthers goal, coupled with another sterling performance from Greenfield who finished with another fantastic 92.86% save percentage.
Awards & Table
After Hugo Roy picked up the Panthers Man of the Match award, Marco Vallerand sent a Mexican Wave around the Utilita Arena as he was awarded the Steelers honour for his first goal on home ice this season.
The Steelers keep on rolling, now sitting on 33 points from 19 games at the top of the Elite League with the Cardiff Devils the closest contenders with 29 points from their 21 games played.
We now take a trip over to Nottingham to take on the Panthers in a return fixture tomorrow night before we welcome the Manchester Storm to the Utilita Arena on Saturday night. 7pm face-off – see you there…!