Another tough game against the Fife Flyers this evening who came out victorious over the Steelers last night to end their perfect record on the road. But the Steelers had enough in the tank to come out with the victory this evening opening up a 13 points lead at the top of the table with a game in hand.
The Steelers started brightly in the first, scoring their first within 19 seconds and leading by two goals entering the second period thanks to efforts from Ciampini, Simpson and Juusola.
The Flyers continued to cause problems in the second and third with two even periods of 2-2 and 1-1 as Nicholls added a second powerplay goal, with Ciampini’s second of the night coming via short-handed effort. Patrick Watling then restored the two goal cushion in the third as the Flyers fought back to make it a one goal game.
First Period (3-1)
An all action start to the first period with the teams both on the scoreboard within the first 30 seconds of the puck touching the ice.
The Steelers setting the tone early with the first goal timed at (0.19) thanks to good work from Brien Diffley, rounding the net of Kevin Lindskoug with the Flyers netminder making the initial save with the pad but Daniel Ciampini was there to finish off the rebound.
The lead was short-lived for the Steelers however as the Flyers were level within 10 seconds at (0.29) with a nice finish on the half-volley from Max Humitz from in-close on Morrone as Teemu Pulkkinen picked up the assist who sent the puck out from behind towards the Steelers goal.
A feisty encounter ensued as both teams up the physicality, but it was the Steelers who got the better of their visitors with another two goals before the period was out.
The first of those coming at (6.13) with a scramble around Lindskoug’s goal with Ciampini and Simpson involved. Simpson using his reach to win the battle and send the puck home, but it needed a VAR review called for by Flyer’s Coach Tom Coolen to confirm the good goal and send the Steelers onto a powerplay for an incorrect Coaches challenge.
Coolen would go on to regret his decision to review the second goal with the Steelers capitalising on the resulting powerplay at (7.36). Nicholls to Cormier to Juusola who picked up the puck in the high slot and his snipe was enough to beat Lindskoug which may have took a little deflection to give the Steelers a two-goal advantage.
No goals, but bad news for the Steelers to finish the period as some afters between Neumann and Osterberg resulted in Neumann landing awkwardly on his shoulder and heading straight down the tunnel who wouldn’t be seen for the remainder of the game.
Second Period (5-3)
(21.16) and the Steelers were up by three courtesy of another well worked powerplay goal after Pavlovs was called for tripping. Quick fire tic-tac-toe passing between Watling, Allen and Nicholls who finished off his one-timer above the blocker of Lindskoug from the slot.
Shortly afterwards and the Flyers were back within two as Colton Saucerman was called for slashing at (22.53) as the referee signalled for a penalty shot. Up stepped Lajeunesse for the Flyers who made no mistake beating Morrone five-hole.
Bang bang for the Flyers to pull it back to a one goal game at (24.38) as they broke and the pass to the backdoor was for Brady Pouteau who rifled it into the roof of the net. Assists to Johan Eriksson and Lucas Chiodo.
More drama as the Steelers then had a goal wiped out with Mitchel Balmas being denied a place on the scoresheet as the officials deemed the puck to have just stopped the wrong side of the line.
Two powerplay goals earlier in the game and then a short-handed goal for the Steelers at (36.05) after Balmas was called for boarding. Daniel Ciampini picking up his second goal of the night coming in from the left wing and finishing from in-close on Lindskoug as he took a tumble over the Flyers netminder but rose straight to his feet to let the Flyers netminder know all about it after some verbals after the first which seemed to have stemmed from the previous night.
Third Period (6-4)
The Flyers kept coming just like they did the night before and were once again back within one early in the third period at (41.20). Attacking at speed, the puck fell to Pavlovs who span in the slot and shot to beat Morrone 5-hole. Assists to Lucas Chiodo and Kevin Wehrs.
After the Steelers killed off a Jones high sticking penalty, the nerves around the arena were settled by the Steelers top point scorer, Patrick Watling at (50.19) who skated in from the right wing, opened up his body and finished his effort off the post and past Lindskoug with Juusola and Jones picking up the assists.
And that was enough for the Steelers to see out the remainder of the period and take the win and avoid any further damage to their extensive lead at the top of the table.
Awards & Table
The Man of the Match was awarded post-game to Fife Flyers #86, Lucas Chiodo as Daniel Ciampini picked up the Steelers honour for the second game running after completing only his first Eddy for the club last time out. This time he swapped places with Anthony Morrone as he saw himself between the pipes for a penalty shot effort. Stick to the scoring Daniel!
With the Belfast Giants dropping a point to the Coventry Blaze tonight, the Steelers now hold a 13 point advantage over the Giants and Guildford Flames sitting in second and third with a game in hand.
Up next are two games on the road, starting with Wednesday night as we take on the Coventry Blaze in Challenge Cup 1st leg semi-final action, before a trip to Nottingham on Saturday night before returning home to take on the Dundee Stars on Sunday. 4pm face-off again – see you there!