The Steelers piled on the pressure in the third period to outshoot the Devils by 31 shots to 22, but were unable to salvage a comeback after the Devils were up by two goals inside 3 minutes of the first period.
Goals from Juusola and Nicholls provided hope for the Steelers but they were unable to finish the job as the Devils took the first two points available between the two sides back to Cardiff and left the Steelers in third position in the league.
After an utterly dominant performance from the Sheffield Steelers in Nottingham last night, coming away with a 0-6 victory in Challenge Cup action, it was back to League action tonight as the Steelers welcomed the Cardiff Devils to the Utilta Arena.
With such an excellent performance, Coach Fox called on the same squad which secured the win last night in the hope of a repeat.
Brandon Whistle is still sidelined recovering from injury as Kielly continues to wait for his first competitive debut.
First Period (0-2)
In quite the opposite fashion to the previous evening, it was an uphill battle from the off as the Steelers were down by two goals inside of 2 minutes and 41 seconds, with both goals coming within 10 seconds of each other.
The first scored at (2.31) on the powerplay as Nuemann was sent to the box in only the second minute of play for slashing. Goal credited to Ryan Barrow and assisted Trevor Cox.
10 seconds later at (2.41) and the Devils were two to the good as Jamie Arniel rocketed a shot top corner over Greenfield’s catcher down the right wing as Cole Ully and River Rymsha picked up the assists on this one.
The Steelers battled back hard, but it was Ben Bowns with some great reflex saves to keep the Steelers at bay as the push was halted by several minor penalties being picked up throughout, as frustration started to set in with the Steelers feeling they were on the harsh end of the officials calls.
The Steelers would have been hoping to take that push into the second period and get on the scoresheet early to pull back the deficit.
Second Period (1-3)
That hope was quickly dashed as the Devils added to their lead at (23.53). Second of the night for Ryan Barrow and he found the corner above Greenfield’s catcher once again. Assists to Busch and Crawford.
It was nearly four shortly afterwards was it not for Greenfield who made the save as the Devils broke three on one. The frustrations continued for the Steelers as Vallerand was sent to the box in the 24th minute for roughing at his own bench as he sent his man to the ice, but the Steelers did well to kill the penalty with little fright.
A fortuitous bounce, but it was just what the Steelers needed at (27.34) as they got on the board through Juusola as the puck rode up and off some part of his chest but was enough to beat Bowns with the hope of a comeback sparked.
The Steelers had their chances to get closer on the scorecard, with two back-to-back penalties for the Devils, but despite good pressure in the zone, the final touch couldn’t be found and the Steelers were still behind by two heading into the third period.
Third Period (2-3)
The Steelers got their opening for a third period comeback towards the halfway stage of the period as Rymsha was sent to the box for holding onto Allen for too long behind is own goal and the gave the opportunity for Josh Nicholls to pick up his first goal of the weekend as he picked up the puck in the slot and picked his spot top shelf. Assists awarded to Petgrave and Ciampini.
As the Steelers pushed for the equaliser, the job was made harder when Petgrave was sent to the box for an unusual delay of the game call as the officials adjudged Petgrave to have held onto the puck for too long when catching it out of the air.
Despite turning the shot count around to lead 33 to 21 on target, the Steelers were unable to find the equaliser and the Devils took the two points back to Cardiff.
New Dad, Ben Bowns took the plaudits of Man of the Match for the Devils, whilst Steelers second goal-scorer Josh Nicholls picked up the award for the Devils.
At the time of writing, the Steelers now sit in third place in the league behind front-runners Manchester Storm and tonight’s opponents Cardiff Devils who sit in second.
A weekend without home hockey now beckons as the Steelers are on the road next Sunday night in Coventry before our first mid-week game of the season a week of Wednesday at we take on the Manchester Storm with a 7.30pm face off – See you there!