A first shutout of the 2019/20 season for Tomas Duba and a five-goal blitz powered the Steelers to an emphatic 5-0 victory over the Belfast Giants.
Marco Vallerand was still absent from the Steelers lineup alongside Aaron Johnson and Jonas Liwing who remain on the treatment table.
It was a cagey opening to the game with both sides looking to take control, but neither getting a clear break.
Steelers netminder Tomas Duba stood up to his first test of the night denying Ben Lake, who broke through the neutral zone and forced the goalie into a solid pad stop.
It was then the turn of Shane Owen to make a number of stops, first denying Ben O’Connor from the blueline and then Tanner Eberle.
The deadlock was finally broken on a Steelers power play, Brian Ward was sent to the box for hooking as the home side piled on the pressure.
With time and space to the right of Owen’s goal, Lucas Sandström waited for the Giants goal to leave the smallest of spaces against his post and the Swede tucked the home. (16:46)
A second period followed that would be unfamiliar with the Steelers faithful, commanding and clinical would sum it up nicely.
Fresh from his man of the match performance on Saturday night, Brendan Connolly, who was exceptional throughout, stole the puck and as he broke through on goal, Anthony DeLuca was on hand for a simple back door tap in. (28:28)
Two became three as Nikolai Lemtyugov, as he does so very often, shrugged off his pursuer to feed a pass to John Armstrong who would slam home. ( 29:40)
Patience was a keyword throughout the night for the Steelers offence and patience lead to the Steelers fourth and DeLuca’s second of the game timed at 37 minutes as he found his goalscoring touch.
There seemed little if anything that Aaron Fox’s men could do wrong on Wednesday night and making it 5-0 was something the Steelers were more than happy to do.
On the power play with Ciaran Long in the box for the Giants, a blast through a screen wasn’t cleared and John Armstrong out-waited a sprawling Owen to roof his second of the night (49:36)
A commanding performance from the Steelers was capped off with the ultimate reward. A first Steelers and EIHL shut out for goalie, Tomas Duba.
This didn’t come without a scare, at 57:38, Aaron Brocklehurst was called for hooking and the referee awarded a penalty shot.
David Goodwin stepped up for the Giants, his slow approach to the crease tested the patience of Duba and once he finally fired his shot on goal, it pinged off the post and out.
A big win on Wednesday night for the league-leading Steelers and one to impress those both at the arena and watching live on FreeSports.
Final score: Steelers 5-0 Giants
Lucas Sandström (Troncinsky, Lemtyugov) 16:46 PPG
Anthony DeLuca (Connolly) 28:28
John Armstrong (Lemtyugov) 29:40
Anthony DeLuca (Davies, O’Connor) 37:00
John Armstrong (Lemtyugov, O’Connor) 49:36 PPG