It was a War of the Roses on Saturday in Manchester – but the Steelers came through in outstanding style to claim the 2 valuable Challenge Cup points.
The King of Sheffield Mathieu Roy, playing his 200th EIHL game for the club led the way with 2 goals, further strikes coming from Colton Fretter, Robert Dowd, Andreas Valdix and Jonus Westerling.
Steelers entered the game without the injured Matt Marquart and Zack Fitzgerald but did have new signing Juha Koivisto making his debut.
Manchester made their intensions clear from the first drop of the puck, this was to be a battle and at times in turned into a war zone. Storm took early penalties and the Steelers took full advantage scoring powerplay goals.
First Paul Swindlehurst took a slashing minor at 12.58 – the first powerplay unit went to work with Fretter feeding Ben O’Connor and his shot tipped home by Roy at 14.31
The King was off the mark for the season – and wasn’t he happy
More penalties followed for the Storm as their emotions took over.
Next in the box was captain Jay Rosehill who sat out 2 for roughing – the powerplay again went to work and this time it was Colton Fretter who took advantage scoring at 15.42
Steelers led 2-0 at the end of the first period.
The second period resembled scenes from Slapshot, scrums after every whistle, cheap shots and eventually fights.
Steelers Tim Wallace and Storm Matt Stanisz sitting out 5 minute majors.
Jonathan Phillips did terrific work in setting up Robert Dowd whose back hand shot hit the back of the net at 27.49 – Steelers led 3-0
If anyone thought that was game over then they were wrong – The Storm hit back in more ways than one.
Gerard Hanson made it 1-3 at 29.53 and then Ryan Trenz made it 2-3 at 31.37
The crowd and the Storm were back in it.
The pulse rates dropped a little 56 seconds before the end of the period as the Steelers extended their lead back to two goals when Andreas Valdix scored to make it 2-4.
Steelers had a great chance to extend their lead even further at the start of the 3rd period when Rosehill took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty – but rather than 2-5 it became 3-4 after a superb short handed goal by Chris Auger.
The game ebbed and flowed with both sides creating chances. At the end the Steelers came through with a valuable 5th goal, Mathieu Roy’s 2nd of the night with less than 2 minutes remaining.
At last the Steelers could breath – with game in the bag the Steelers added a 6th goal. Ben O’Connor assisting on Jonus Westerlings first (official) goal as a Steeler.
Final Score: Storm 3-6 Steelers.
On Sunday at the Sheffield Arena the Steelers take on Nottingham Panthers – Face Off 5.00pm