The Steelers had to wait until the third period to book their place in the Challenge Cup Quarter Final as top seeds tonight as the visiting Manchester Storm kept the game level up until the 48th minute when Brett Neumann’s go-ahead goal was added to by Dominic Cormier to seal the win late in the game.
Manchester Storm also booked their place in the Quarters having found the two goals they needed to knock the Dundee Stars out of the competition.
The scene was set before face-off as the Steelers required a regulation win to progress as top seed to the Quarter Finals of the Challenge Cup, whilst our visitors, the Manchester Storm required two goals to progress and knock the Dundee Stars out of the competition.
Greenfield made way for Morrone tonight as Niklas Nevalainen continued to be sidelined with a stomach bug. Manchester Storm also gave a professional debut to Alexander Oldale who was backed up by Weninger.
First Period (2-1)
Both teams took time to find their feet in the new venue of Ice Sheffield as a few bounces from the backboards went array, but as the Steelers settled into their work they found their opening goal at (10.28) as Mark Simpson found space through traffic to beat Oldale low on the blocker as the Storm looked for a call for interference around the blue line. Assists credited to Watling and Shudra.
The Storm did hit back pretty quickly at (14.04) with a great tip from in-close on Morrone as the deflection from Ulett was good enough to beat Morrone above the glove and into the top of the net. The blue line shot provided by Sullivan with Tremblay picking up the secondary assist.
After the Storm killed off a Critchlow cross-checking penalty, the Steelers got their second of the night at (18.14) courtesy of an all British effort as Whistle found a tip of his own, this time from a Sam Jones blue line effort as Cole Shudra picked up his second assist of the game.
That goal was enough for the Steelers to take the one goal lead into the second period.
Second Period (2-2)
The Storm got the only goal of the second period, booking their place in the Quarter Finals of the cup, and with that dispatching the Dundee Stars from the competition.
The goal coming at (25.46) as the Steelers failed to clear their lines after Morrone made the save on the initial shot, but Haarala reacted the quickest to put the puck under Morrone as Corneil and Hinam were credited with the assists.
Alex Oldale was certainly being kept busy down the other end, pulling off some great saves from shots all around the zone, evening getting the better of Josh Nicholls as he picked the puck up around the red line and was in all alone but Oldale was quick enough to get his left pad down to deny.
All to play for in the third period as the Steelers went looking for the regulation win which would give them top ranking in the next round.
Third Period (4-2)
There were clearly nerves around the rink at the start of the third as the Steelers set out to find the much-needed go-ahead goal.
That go-ahead goal came at (48.40) as Brett Neumann put on the jets down the right wing to get around the Storm’s defence and fire across Oldale to beat him blocker side. Jones and Allen credited with the assists on this one.
The Storm had their chances to level the game again, but despite the forwards continuing to pepper Oldale’s goal, it was defencemen, Dominic Cormier who grabbed his first goal for the club to put the crowd at ease at (57.43). Sneaking in down the left wing, he made no mistake beating Oldale on his glove side to bring the crowd to their feet and clap their team home to victory. Goal assisted by Mikko Juusola.
Awards & Table
Alex Oldale’s impressive professional debut grabbed him the Storm’s Man of the Match award, before Sam Jones was picked for the Steelers for his two assists on the night and took on Cole Shudra in a bit of Sumo wrestling.
With 6 wins from 6, the Steelers confirmed their top seeding for the Challenge Cup quarter finals and will take on the Manchester Storm once again. The away fixture will take place on Thursday 7th December in Manchester, before we return for the second leg on Wednesday 20th December at the Sheffield Utilita Arena.
It is another weekend without home hockey this coming weekend as we are the road in Dundee on Saturday night, before a trip over the pond to take on the Belfast Giants on Sunday night. We return to home action on Saturday 9th December as the Guildford Flames are in town! 7pm face-off – See you there!