Steelers Crowned Elite League Champions – Steelers 7:3 Flames

Game Summary

The Steelers held their nerve after the second period to bag three in both the first and third period as they came out victorious over the Guildford Flames and lifted the Elite League trophy on home ice tonight.

Top point scorer in the league, Mitchell Balmas bagged five points throughout the contest with Marco Vallerand also picking up his 29th and 30th goal of the year as the Steelers were crowned Elite League Champions for the first time since 2016.

First Period [3-0]

A dream start for the Sheffield Steelers, bagging on three occasions to give themselves a healthy advantage heading into the second period.

A quick start from the Flames in the first couple of minutes, but it was all Steelers from then on in continuing the form from the final period in Nottingham on the previous night.

A goal in the second minute in the Challenge Cup final and another in the biggest game of the season so far at (2.22). A goal of the season contender from Patrick Watling, taking the puck from Niklas Nevalainen and dangling the puck through the legs of the Flames defenceman and finding the perfect finish above the blocker of Taz Burman.

Two up for the Steelers not long after at (6.39). This time a Scott Allen tip from close range on Burman from a Brien Diffley blue line effort as Mark Simpson also picked up an assist on the play.

The Steelers were in full control and continued to pepper the goal of Burman with the Flames netminder keeping his team in the game. Matt Greenfield also on his game at the other end particularly with a double save as the Flames forward cut across the crease.

The pressure telling again on the Flames, this time on the powerplay as Flames’ captain Brett Ferguson was sent to the box for hooking. A Colton Saucerman feed over to Marco Vallerand and like so many times before, no mistake from the powerplay master, down on one knee and sniping one past Burman first time.

With the game slipping from the Flames, the visitors started to up the physical play as the Steelers would start the second period with a man down as Nevalainen took reacted with a slash of his own and took a seat in the penalty box.

Second Period [4-3]

The Steelers three goal advantage cut to only one in the second period as the Flames matched the Steelers efforts in the first, beating Greenfield on three separate occasions throughout the second twenty.

Two of those goals within thirty seconds of each other early in the period to leave the Steelers stunned. The first timed at (21.33). Ben O’Connor walking down the half-boards and floating one in towards Brett Ferguson who got enough at the near post to tip past Greenfield.

(21.53) and the Flames were back within one out of nowhere. Brett Ferguson involved again, taking the puck towards the back of Greenfield’s net but deciding to send the puck out in-front with a battle going on around the blue paint. However, the puck fell kindly with Mike Crocock who sent the puck into the back of the net. Secondary assist to Lewis Hook.

The Steelers needed a spark with the ice starting to tilt in the visitor’s favour. He’s worn the ‘C’ on several occasions throughout the year and what a Captain’s goal it was to restore a two-goal lead at (25.42) from Kevin Tansey. Picking up the puck from Mitchell Balmas, he skated hard to take the slot unchallenged and rip one bar down on the Flames netminder as Tansey wheeled off in celebration.

Only nine shots on target for the Flames in the second, but that was enough to get a third and once again bring the game back within one at (33.48) on a powerplay as Nevalainen was once again in the box, this time for interference. Bradley Lalonde firing the puck in from the blue line and with Greenfield unable to hold onto the effort, Brett Ferguson was quickest to react and sweep the puck home, quickly going to two plus one on the night as it was all to play for in the third.

Third Period [7-3]

No panic from the Steelers coming out of the first forty though as they put their foot down in the third and the Flames were unable to keep up. Just like the first, three goals in a period sealed the deal as the Steelers were crowned Elite League Champions on home ice.

Mitchell Balmas, who would end up with five points on the night and a Man of the Match performance got the Steelers fifth at (46.45) skating in from the right circle and lifting one over Burman.

Six up at (56.27), this time from Daniel Ciampini as the Steelers looked like they would score every time they went forward in the final ten minutes. A great feed from Patrick Watling from behind the goal and Ciampini made no mistake firing home for six of the best.

And cherry on the cake at (58.52) as Marco Vallerand picked up his second of the night. Another powerplay goal with Locke called for charging making it 30 goals on the season for the Steelers number 88.

As the buzzer sounded, the ice was littered with equipment as the team that as overcome so much over the last eight months were celebrated by the best fans in Europe THE WORLD!