Steelers Show Love To Over 9,000 Fans – Steelers 3:0 Flames

Game Summary

Another shut out on home ice for Matt Greenfield infront of over 9,000 fans, saving all 31 shots faced saw the Steelers add two more points to their league leading total of 65 points from 36 games played. Having only conceded 62 goals all season the Steelers extinguished the Flames in a prequal to the Challenge Cup final.

Goals in the second period from Mitchell Balmas and back from GB duty Brandon Whistle were added to by Marco Vallerand on the powerplay in the third as Niklas Nevalainen took off on his first Eddy for the club.

The Flames showed promise in small bites throughout the contest, but the relentless offence from the Steelers was equalled with defensive and goaltending prowess as the Steelers are now one again 10 unbeaten on the trot.

First Period [0-0]

A scoreless first period despite the Steelers dominating the offence with 18 shots on the goal of Eamon McAdam.

Physicality from the start by the Flames with a big hit on Vallerand within the first 15 seconds of play with Colton Saucerman returning the favour later in the period. The game pretty even for the first 10 minutes with the Steelers also having to kill off a two-minute Balmas tripping penalty.

The Flames then going too far with the physicality finding themselves on a five on three penalty kill as Ferguson was sent to the box for a needless cross-checking penalty on Tansey who was down on the ice after a great pad stack save from Greenfield just after the Steelers had cleared the puck from their own goal line.

32 seconds after the initial penalty, Ben O’Connor then took out Patrick Harper near to the boards and joined his colleague in the box for boarding. However, the Flames worked hard throughout the penalty kill to close down their men and see off the danger despite several solid attempts from Colton Saucerman in particular.

Not happy with the five on three, the Flames were then down a man again when Mike Crocock took out the Steelers captain with a high hooking call but again the Steelers were unable to get set up as the Flames closed down the Steelers at speed with McAdam also making a couple of super saves.

All even as the teams headed into the second as the Steelers would have been looking to make more of the consistent offence.

Second Period [2-0]

Another 15 shots on the goal of McAdam resulted in the Steelers taking a two-goal lead heading into the third period despite the Flames also having chances at the other end with Greenfield having saved all 19 shots which he had faced up to that point.

First goal for the Steelers coming at (24.30) as Dowd gained the zone and put in a backhanded effort on McAdam which he saved with the pad but could only send it towards the side of his net. Balmas was the quickest to react and send it home with McAdam scrambling as Kevin Tansey was awarded the secondary assist.

The Steelers then began to have it all their own way for the next five minutes or so as they went two on one on with three back to back plays but McAdam was equal on all occasions.

However, McAdam was unable to keep another effort out at (32.47) as Saucerman floated in the puck from around the blue line which landed just short of the Flames netminder and could only get a pad on it to deflect it out in front which Whistle jumped on to toe drag around the netminder’s pads and slot it home. Secondary assist on this one to Zach Vinnell.

A bizarre call from the officials followed in 34th minute as Sam Jones was sent to the box for a charging call with confusion around the benches and arena as Andrew Dalton seemed to be the only one to see the infringement but the Steelers penalty killers did their job and saw off their two minutes short-handed.

Greenfield called upon in the final few minutes with the Flames putting the pressure on the Steelers defensive core as they went looking for their first goal, but the Steelers netminder came up big when required with his defensive colleague helping out on any rebounding pucks.

Third Period [3-0]

In the third, the Flames certainly caught up on the shot count putting in a further 12 efforts on the goal of Greenfield, but there was no beating the Steelers netminder once again as he completed the set having now shut out every team in the league.

After killing off a Nevalainen hooking penalty early in the period, it was a Steelers powerplay effort of their own which helped them find their third and final goal of the contest at (50.02) when Brett Ferguson was called for goaltender interference after tripping Greenfield from behind in his own crease. A bit of fortune for the Steelers created through sustained pressure as the puck pinballed around close in on McAdam, finally ending up a the skates of Marco Vallerand who made no mistake slotting the puck home into the gaping net with the goal being assisted by Balmas and Ciampini.

The Flames through everything at the Steelers for the next five minutes, but the Steelers defence stood strong keeping efforts to the outside as much as possible as the Flames energy became depleted as the game petered out for another comfortable victory for the Steelers.

Awards & Table

So consistent, so many qualify performance for the Steelers but a first Eddy for the Steelers Man of the Match tonight, Niklas Nevalainen who took the snap and found Robert Dowd for the end-zone touch down. Eamon McAdam with the Flames award.

With the Cardiff Devils coming out victorious over the Fife Flyers the Steelers continue to hold a 14 point lead at the top of the table with the Devils having a game in hand. Third placed Belfast Giants succumbed to the Manchester Storm putting them 21 points behind the Steelers having played one game more.

Up Next

The Nottingham Panthers are next up for the Steelers as they take a trip down the M1 on Saturday before we are on the road on Sunday to take on tonight’s opponents the Guildford Flames in a return fixture. 7pm face-off on Saturday – see you there…!