Road Blokes Fight Back To Make It Twelve Unbeaten – Flames 2:4 Steelers

Game Summary

The Road Blokes had to come from behind this evening with three goals in the final 10 minutes of action to make it 12 unbeaten and maintain their 14 points lead at the top of the Elite League with the Cardiff Devils also coming out victorious.

A Marco Vallerand powerplay classic in the first was bettered by the Flame’s McParland who scored in both the first and second, but the ice titled from the 50 minute mark as Juusola wrapped one five-hole, Nicholls sniped one top shelf and Saucerman found the empty net to complete his Gordie Howe hat-trick after dropping the gloves earlier in the contest with Ripplinger.

First Period [1-1]

Hits, goals, dropped gloves and penalties summed up an all action first twenty minutes at the Spectrum with a goal apiece for both teams and 26 minutes of penalties being handed out by the officials.

In a carry over from Wednesday night’s encounter between the two sides, it was clear from the outset that the Flame’s M.O. was to up the physicality stakes and look to get under the skin of the Steelers from the outset.

Brett Ferguson leading from the front for the Flames with Colton Saucerman not one to take a back step throwing his weight around throughout the period.

The Steelers thought they had the lead at (4.49) with Josh Nicholls sending home a rebound from Flames netminder Taz Burman but the officials waved off the play for a man in the crease. The play was challenged by Steelers coach Aaron Fox but as the officials upheld their call which sent the Flames on a powerplay for an unsuccessful coach’s challenge.

After another altercation behind the Steelers goal between Saucerman and Ripplinger, the gloves were dropped between the two players but with both tied up, nothing of note was able to be thrown.

After the Flames killed off a short 5 on 3 penalty for two tripping calls back to back, the Steelers got themselves infront at (14.16) with the Flames still down by one player as Marco Vallerand took top spot in the leagues play off goals with another top shelf finish from his favourite position around the left wing circle.

The lead was however short lived as the Flames got themselves back level at (16.18) following a good shift from the Steelers 4th line. Crinella with some really good work down the right wing to get around his man and send the puck to the blue paint on the back hand with McParland in the right place to put away the finish leaving Greenfield with no chance.

Two further penalties for both teams to finish off the period as the physicality certainly seemed as though it would be a theme throughout.

Second Period [2-1]

A much more sedate second period from both teams as lots of time was spent going back and forth with neither team able to set up many grade-A chances. The Flames certainly having the better of the shot count by the end of 40 minutes, leading the Steelers at 18 to 9 on target.

Josh Nicholls with the Steelers best chance, just shooting wide of Burman’s goal, going across the Flames netminder who looked beaten stick side from the slot. That was before Nevalainen was the recipient of a huge hit from Flames, Crinella as Sam Jones returned the favour shortly afterwards.

All the action in the final few minutes with the Steelers having a long 5 on 3 penalty kill as a hooking call on Nevalainen was added to when Diffley sent the puck out of play in his own defensive zone and was called for delaying the game. The Steelers doing well to kill off the first penalty, particularly Greenfield making a couple of top saves, but as Nevalainen returned to the ice, McParland was found in the similar position to Vallerand and fired past Greenfield to pick up his second of the night with only 7 seconds to go in the period at (39.53), giving the Flames a one goal advantage heading into the third.

Third Period [2-4]

With ten minutes gone in the third period, it looked like the 11 win unbeaten streak might be coming to an end for the Steelers as the struggle continued to get inside the Flames defences as they continued to frustrate the Steelers forwards.

However, the ice titled in the Flames direction from that point onwards as the Steelers found their equaliser at (50.18) as Mikko Juusola picked up the puck behind Burman’s goal, wrapped around the front and slotted the puck in five-hole. Assisted Niklas Nevalainen.

The statistics started to show the dominance of the Steelers in the third having taken their 40 minute shot count from 9 to 28 by the sound of the buzzer. And that pressure paid off once again shortly after the equaliser at (54.18) when Scott Allen won his face-off in the offensive zone perfectly to pull it back for Josh Nicholls who ripped a wrister top shelf with a stunning snipe.

With the Flames netminder then pulled, it was chaos around the Steelers goal once again, and once again it was Flames captain Brett Ferguson involved, taking out Greenfield leaving Tansey no option but to clear his man out of the crease as both were sent to the penalty box for roughing.

Another face-off win and another goal for the Steelers, this time a win from Brandon Whistle who sent it into the path of Colton Saucerman who fired the length of the ice to complete his Gordie Howe hat-trick of a fight, assist and goal at (59.04).

And that was all she wrote for this one as the Steelers came from behind to make it 12 unbeaten and two wins in a week against the Flames when the next time these two teams meet will be in the Challenge Cup Final!

📸 John Uwins