The Sheffield Steelers leave Glasgow with a four-goal lead heading into the second leg of the Challenge Cup semi-final after a solid away performance on Wednesday night.
Steelers welcomed back assistant coach, Aaron Johnson back to the lineup but made the trip to Glasgow without Josef Hrabal after he left Sunday’s game early after sustaining an injury.
Period one began with neither side offering a great deal of offence, but the Steelers edging the early scoring chances with Marco Vallerand and captain Phillips both going close.
Sheffield had the first try with their speciality teams just 23 seconds in but failed to capitalise with the Clan’s aggressive penalty kill working perfectly.
Forward, Anthony DeLuca was helped from the ice after falling awkwardly in the corner and wouldn’t return to the game.
Patrick Killeen in the Glasgow goal would flash the leather on a number of occasions, denying both Aaron Brocklehurst and Michael Davies.
There would be no clear-cut scoring chances in the first twenty minutes with Tomas Duba the busier of the two goalies as the period came to a close.
Period two was to be a whole different story as the Steelers took control of the first leg by enjoying some high-quality scoring opportunities but again Killeen standing firm.
It began with Marco Vallerand burying a rebound past Killeen at 23:29 to open the scoring.
Glasgow replied moments later with a goal of their own, as Li
dhammer was in the right spot to push the puck under Duba from the top of the crease.
Whilst the scoring took a momentary pause, the game became scrappy in parts with neither side able to add to the scoresheet but plenty of words exchanged between the two benches.
Heading into the final twenty minutes and this would be where Aaron Fox’s side really closed their grip on the first leg.
Firstly, Tanner Eberle would score his first goal of the night at 40:24, squeezing the puck through the smallest of gaps to beat Killeen from a tight angle.
Eberle would then go on to get his second on the night, re-directing a slap/pass from Mike Davies beyond a helpless Killeen, with seconds left on the power play that initial began as a 5on3.
Ben O’Connor would deny an almost certain Clan goal after he managed to control a high puck that bounced over the head of Duba and would have dropped into the Steelers goal.
The first leg lead would increase after a superb tic-tac-toe passing play was finished into the goal by John Armstrong who had come close on several occasions (54:42).
Big John had the simplest of back doors tap ins after nice work from Jonathan Phillips and Lucas Sandstrom, who were relentless all night and combined sweetly on the goal.
It was goodnight in the first leg when silky hands from Lucas Sandstrom saw the forward create space at the back post to fire past Killeen and make it 5-1 (56:44).
Head coach Aaron Fox was left delighted with the Steelers performance, with his only real concern lying with the injured DeLuca.
Steelers will head back to Sheffield with a healthy first leg lead that will conclude on January 29th when the Clan re-vist Sheffield.
Final score: Clan 1 – 5 Steelers
Next Home Game
Sunday 19th Januaray
Steelers Vs. Belfast Giants
Fly DSA (Sheffield) Arena
Face Off 4.00pm
Doors Open 3.00pm
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