The Steelers maintained a lead through the first and second periods before running away with the contest in the third tonight as Sheffield brought two points back home with victory over the Glasgow Clan by five goal to two.
Goals in the first by Balmas and Vallerand were added to by Watling in the second before a short-handed effort from Simpson and an empty netter from Juusola sealed the deal in the third.
At the back, Matt Greenfield was outstanding once again, backstopping the Steelers to another two points as the Steelers opened up a 16 point lead at the top of the Elite League table.
First Period (1-2)
The Steelers came out on top in a pretty even first period which could have been all the sweeter despite being on the wrong end of a short-handed effort from Gary Haden.
The Steelers started the contest relatively brightly with Ciampini and Watling putting in efforts on Kielly who was equal to the task. The fourth line then went to work with the returning Whistle throwing a hit on his first shift.
(8.36) transpired before the Steelers got themselves on the scoreboard as Dowd fed Balmas around the high slot and he sniped a quality finish above Kielly’s catcher.
The Steelers then went hutting for their second as Cody Sol was sent to the box for a tripping call, but it turned into a level game as the puck was turned over in neutral ice which sent the Clan two one one. Greenfield did enough to get his pad down to Petryk’s initial shot, but the rebound fell perfectly to the trailing Gary Haden and he made no mistake.
The Steelers went straight back to work looking to restore the lead and got just that at (17.47). Mitchell Balmas involved again feeding Marco Vallerand around the Clan blue line and skated the puck around to the left wing face-off circle and then put in a great finish across body of Kielly top corner once again.
The Steelers would however start the second period a man down as Nevalainen found himself in the box for a tripping call of his own late in the period.
Second Period (2-3)
A short-handed effort in the first was added to in the second with a powerplay effort for the Clan to level the game before the Steelers hit back later in the period.
The powerplay for the Clan being the result of Diffley and Sol dropping the gloves after Diffley had put in a cross-check on a Clan play behind the play. No real interest in the fight from Diffley with Sol landing a couple of glancing blows. Luke Lynch with a nice finish at (30.11) unassisted as he beat Greenfield bar down as he was heading to the ice.
The Steelers needed to get themselves back in front and did just that through Patrick Watling at (38.17) after receiving the puck from Nicholls. Watling sent the puck around his man and stretched out his stick to just get enough to beat Kielly and restore the one goal lead which the Steelers took into the third period.
Daniel Ciampini with some words for the officials as the whistle went after taking a stick up high without any call.
Third Period (2-5)
Two points secured for the Steelers in the third with a short-handed goal
Two points secured for the Steelers in the third with a short-handed goal from Mark Simpson in reply to the Clan’s earlier effort and an empty net finish from Juusola late in the period.
It was Kevin Tansey who put the Steelers on the penalty kill after being called for holding the stick of his opponent, but it was all in the Steelers favour as Simpson broke down the ice and went five-hole on Kielly for a lovely finish at (46.18).
Pressure was then relieved further for the Steelers later in the period with only four minutes remaining as Ryan Harrison headed to the penalty box for the Clan, this time for cross-checking. The Clan did well to kill off the penalty and give an opportunity for Kielly to leave the ice for the extra attacker, but the relentless grind of the Steelers was enough to win back the puck which fell nicely for Juusola and he finished the puck into the empty net from distance at (58.42) to give the Steelers a three goal lead with no time left for any sort of Clan comeback.
Awards & Table
Another outstanding 94.44% save percentage from Matt Greenfield, saving 34 of his 36 shots faced was more than enough for him to take the Man of the Match award for the Steelers.
With the win tonight, the Steelers open up a 16 point lead at the top of the Elite League table, with the Cardiff Devils currently sitting in second place with two games in hand.
We now head back home to the Utilita Arena as the Glasgow Clan make the return trip for another encounter against the Scottish outfit tomorrow night with a 7pm face-off. See you there!