The Steelers left it late again to post an opening four-point weekend with victory on the road against the Guildford Flames tonight. A first Steelers goal for Josh Nicholls was followed up with a late brace from new Captain, Robert Dowd to seal a 1-3 victory against league runners up from the previous season.
The Steelers got their league campaign off to winning ways with an overtime win against the Coventry Blaze last night. A quick turnaround saw the Steelers in league action once again tonight, this time on the road to take on second placed finishers from last season, the Guildford Flames.
The Steelers struggled to find their scoring touch until late in the game last night and would have certainly been looking to make a quicker start to the competition tonight as Coach Fox mixed up the lines with Mark Simpson impressing enough to find himself promoted to the top line, centering Allen and Neumann. Greenfield, Tansey and Petgrave then made up the remainder of the starting 6 for the Steelers whilst Whistle continued to recover from injury and Kielly waits for his first competitive debut.
First Period (1-1)
It wasn’t the start the Steelers would have been looking for however, as Tansey was sent to the penalty box for hooking his man back just in-front of Greenfield with only 25 seconds on the clock. The Steelers did well to kill off the penalty with relative ease before heading on an odd-man rush straight after, but the Flames defenceman did just enough to break up the play and take the chance away from Neumann.
The Flames then killed off a Tait tripping penalty of their own in the 5th minute before the Steelers were back on the penalty kill at (8.02) as Saucerman was called for cross-checking. The ‘kill’ lasted only 24 seconds before the Flames capitalised at (8.26). A well worked goal between Petruzzelli, Lemos and finished off by Matt Alvaro around Greenfield’s blue paint.
The Steelers reacted well from being behind and were back level within less than two minutes thanks to a first Steelers goal for Josh Nicholls who finished five-hole on McAdam, assisted nicely by Ciampini from across the zone.
Neither team were able to create any further grade-A chances for the remainder of the period as Saucerman and Ferguson each picked up roughing minors which cancelled each other out and they headed into the second period all square.
Second Period (1-1)
Despite an exciting back and forth second period, neither team were able to add to their goal tally as the game headed into the third period still locked at one goal apiece.
The Steelers having the better of the pressure, having outshot the Flames by 29 to 18 on target, but McAdam was on form for the Flames when it mattered. Greenfield also showing his quality at the other end for the Steelers on several occasions.
Action was also added by Saucerman and Locke who dropped the gloves in the 34th minute. Saucerman was able to land the only shot before Locke used his extra size to take his opponent down to the ice. The game was certainly spicing up as Allen and Alvaro made dinner plans at the benches and certainly made for an exciting third period.
Third Period (1-3)
The Steelers continued to dominate possession and the scoring opportunities in the third period, ultimately finishing with 39 shots on the target of McAdam’s goal. However, it took until the second half of the period for them to make the breakthrough, and who else but new Captain, Robert Dowd to get the Steelers their go-ahead goal at (51.40).
On the powerplay with Fredericks sitting for tripping, the puck fell just nicely for Dowd around the right ring face-off circle, and he made no mistake finding the open goal as McAdam was unable to get across his crease on this occasion. Sam Jones picking up the only assist on this one.
Dowd called on his teammates shortly afterwards to kill off his own infringement when he was called for interference, but he repaid the favour at (57.16) when he picked up his second goal and put the Steelers ahead by two.
With the Flames pushing for the equaliser, Balmas picked up the puck and skated down the right wing, laid the puck across the zone, two on one, and Dowd made no mistake finding the back of McAdam’s net once again.
The Flames penned the Steelers in for the final two minutes with McAdam pulled for the extra attacker, but the Steelers did well to keep any chances to the outside and skated away with the two points, and an opening four point weekend.
Lewis Hook was awarded the Man of the Match award for the Flames, but it was Robert Dowd for his two goals late in the game who picked up the award for the Steelers.
With only one other fixture in the League this evening, the Steelers got their points on the board early and sit on top with their four points from two games.
Next up is a trip to take on the Nottingham Panthers next Saturday night before we return home on Sunday to take on the Cardiff Devils. 4pm face off – See you there!