Sheffield kept up any slim chance of triple Elite League Championships with a four point weekend over the Manchester Storm.
Following the departure of defenseman Christoffer Bjorklund a day prior to transfer deadline day, Paul Thompson went about filling the spare import slot with former d-man Rod Sarich.
Despite not icing for the battle of the roses weekend, Sarich, 35, was behind the bench for the start of his third spell at the Steelers.
Saturday was a routine victory for Paul Thompsons men. A commanding performance led by another stellar goaltending performance from Ervins Mustukovs and a Man of the Match display from Robert Dowd.
It was a case of win at all costs, and that they did. Simple things were done perfectly, passing was slick, defensively they were sound, goals looked possible from every attack, it was the Sheffield from the first half of the season.
Offensively the line of 76,17,75 has been outstanding. Nelson, Nilsson and Dowd have found the complete chemistry and boy is it showing on the ice. Speed, tenacity, grit, goals, flair, passion with every shift. They’ve been frighteningly good.
The King of Sheffield, Mathieu Roy, has led the way for most of the season and with games coming thick and fast, he’s showing no signs of slowing up. Two goals this weekend, both of high quality finishes show just a snippet of the class that oozes from his French-Canadian bones.
Sunday’s trip to Altrincham was little less plain sailing. A two goal lead was surrendered following scrappy defensive plays in front of the Latvian Netminder and the game had turned on its head. However another Levi Nelson goal, his second of the night put the Steelers 3-2 before the home side equalised with minutes to go.
Then controversy took over.
A hit/trip, call it what you want, nothing was called but it led to a centre-ice turnover and Jace Coyle picked up on the loose puck.
Skating through one-on-one with Clemente, Coyle deked left then right before roofing the puck high over the glove and into the goal…
Or so we thought.
Referee Dean Smith awarded the goal, Sheffield players and fans alike erupted in jubilation but the Storm players were adamant it hit the bar.
After consulting with his fellow officials the goal was given and Sheffield would take away the full points in yet another game they had to win outright.
From here on end every game is a must win. Gone are the days of waiting for the Devils or Giants to slip it, it’s in Sheffield’s hands if they still want to be in the title picture for a few weeks longer.