A gritty performance was required on Saturday night to help the Sheffield Steelers secure two points in the Elite Ice Hockey League versus Manchester Storm.
The Steelers were still without the long-term injured Robert Dowd as well as Josef Hrabal and Anthony DeLuca.
Period one began at a slow pace with neither side taking control of the game and Manchester having the better of time in the offensive zone.
Dallas Ehrhardt and Cameron Critchlow both going close but Tomas Duba remained unbeaten through the first twenty minutes.
Michael Davies had the best of the home side’s chances firing narrowly over from just inside the left face-off circle.
It was a quiet first period up until the final minute when the scoring was opened by Tanner Eberle with both sides having four skaters.
Eberle picked up the puck, skated through the face-off circle and fired a bullet over the glove of Matt Ginn (19:55)
Manchester came out of with a jump in their step and turned the game on its head. The atmosphere was subdued with the game lacking the spark some may have expected the Storm to bring with them.
At 22:37 the visiting side had tied the game through Mario Puskarich who able to beat Duba, assisted by Critchlow and Aulin.
Momentum had fully shifted onto the Storm and after coming close on several shifts to taking the lead, they got the go-ahead goal.
This time Frankie Melton was allowed a little too much time and space to be able to finish nicely past Duba, which was nothing more than they deserved.
Sheffield needed a little puck luck but nothing was landing kindly and Ginn was as solid as ever backing up the Storm defence.
A key moment in period two saw Lucas Sandstrom press Matt Ginn for the puck, who left his crease to play the puck. Sandstrom got his stick in the way and with Ginn tumbling to the ice, Gagnon came across as took exception.
With Mathieu Gagnon having just returned to the ice following an interference penalty, Nikolai Lemtyugov combined nicely with John Armstrong who squeezed his one-timer through the legs of the goalie.
The goal helped to bring some life back to the FlyDSA Arena crowd and saw Sheffield get their noses back into the game.
Final period nerves were beginning to wander in with the Storm’s dogged defending frustrating the Steelers players and fans alike.
However, 22 seconds into the final frame saw Marco Vallerand get the eventual game-winning goal as his shot was past Ginn in a flash.
Play was to go back and forth between the two sides with offensive spells offering opportunities for the Steeler to extend their lead and the Storm to level things up.
Janne Kolehmainen was looking to supply his side with the jump that was so desperately needed as he landed two huge hits with time winding down.
Things were sealed when Matt Ginn was pulled to the bench for the extra attacker heading into the final minute, the puck was cleared and the foot race was on.
Brendan Connolly got to the loose puck and despite the diving defenceman trying to clear the puck, Connolly poked it over the line.
Final score: Steelers 4-2 Storm