The Sheffield Window Centre, Sheffield Steelers, bowed out of the playoffs after falling to the Cardiff Devils on Sunday night.
Taking a 5-4 lead into Cardiff following Saturday night’s first leg in Sheffield, Tom Barrasso’s men expected an even tougher game at the Viola Arena.
It was a first period that belonged to the Devils as they tied up the aggregate score only four minutes into the game with Sean Bentivoglio finding the back of the net. (04:03)
Cardiff then doubled their lead on the night and edged ahead to 6-5 aggregate score at 17:46 with a power play goal from Joey Martin (Mosey + Reddick).
A shorthanded Steelers goal 1:43 into the second period had things tied up, as Jordan Owens went one-on-one with Ben Bowns and beat the Devils netminder.
Sheffield started the second period a lot better than the first twenty minutes and despite being behind on the night 2-1, the aggregate score was what mattered most (6-6).
Over halfway into the game and Mark Richardson brought the Cardiff crowd to their feet as he finished off a play that saw him pick up his own rebound to roof the puck over a diving Whistle. It was now a 3-1 game and a 7-6 Devils lead over the two legs.
As time ticked down in the second period, Cardiff began to press in search of another goal, but the buzzer sounded and the Steelers were glad to get into the break.
Sturn words must have been issued by Barrasso during the break and the response was superb.
A flying start to final frame and Eric Neiley (40:26) assisted by John Armstrong equalised the tie after a hard forecheck turned the puck over in front of Bowns. Neiley made no mistake and buried the puck high past the Goalie.
Less than a minute later and Sheffield had the lead. Steelers man of the match, Jordan Owens scored his second of the night and his third of the weekend at 41:13 after O’Connor’s inch-perfect pass found the forward at the top of the crease to swat home. 3-3 (8-7)
Despite the lightning fast start to the third period, that would be the end of the Steelers scoring.
A power play goal from Layne Ulmer (49:40) followed shortly by a Matthew Myers strike at 50:19 had turned the game on its head once again. Devils now leading 5-3 on the night and 8-9 on aggregate.
Any hope of the Steelers pulling level again was dented even more when Joey Martin (53:21) scored his second of the night.
Despite a late 6on4 power play with Whistle pulled for the extra attacker, the Steelers couldn’t capitalise on their chances.
Martin would go on to seal his hattrick and the game for the Devils with an empty net goal with seconds remaining on the clock.
A final score on the night: Steelers 3 – 7 Devils (8-11 agg*)
Listen to the post-match reaction from Head Coach, Tom Barrasso –