Steelers steal points from Giants in Sheffield

Steelers steal the points in Sheffield’s arena 

The Stena Line Belfast Giants fell to a nail-biting last minute goal defeat in Sheffield on Saturday night. The Steelers scored the winner with just 16 seconds to go on the game clock. This was an eighth away defeat in a row. However the final score did not represent the very fine Giants’ performance in which they battled back from one goal down, twice in the game.

Following the win the Steelers moved to within one point of league leading Braehead Clan. Their last minute victory over Belfast happened as the Clan was being shut out for the second game running 0-6 in Nottingham.

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Mike Forney netting thewinner for the Sheffield Steelers

Mike Forney scored the Steelers’ winner with just 16 seconds remaining after the game looked like it was heading to overtime. In a breathtaking night the Sheffield arena saw both teams play outstanding hockey from the get go. The Giants’ Mark Garside’s backhander flew past the Steelers’ goalie Josh Unice to open the scoring 1-0.

Steelers_Goal_1_Roy_615Mathiue both steels the puck and scores in one fantastic move from the Steelers forward

Sheffield’s Mathiue Roy stole the puck from the Giants and pulled a stunning move on newly returned Giants’ net minder Stephen Murphy to tie the game up at one each. The Roy goal was the highlight effort but then the Colton Fretter go-ahead goal had the thousands present at the arena in seventh heaven. Fretter rifled the puck past Murphy finding the top corner of the net.

Steelers_Goal_2_Fretter_615 Sheffield’s Colton Fretter nets the go-ahead goal giving the Steelers the momentium

Throughout the game the Steelers made good use of home ice advantage drawing the best out of Stephen Murphy who returned to between the Giants’ pipes after a length injury absence. Murph was back to his old form making outstanding save after another.

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Back from Injury Belfast’s Mark McCutcheson starts a Giants come back

The Giants’ almost forgotten man Mark McCutcheon scored the only goal of the middle period to tie the game 2-2 as Belfast muscled their way back. Fretter was in goal scoring mood and snapped a second goal putting the Steelers back into the lead 3-2 in the third period.

Ray Sawada on Knees

Giants Ray Sawada knows how to score goals

‘Never say die’ Belfast Giants fired back into action with just over ten minutes remaining on the game clock as Ray Sawada snapped a wrist shot over Unice’s shoulder for a 3-3 tie and just seconds to the final whistle.

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Can’t stop scoring goals Mathieu Roy nets the winner

With just 17 seconds left on the game clock the hockey contest was heading into overtime – well it was until Sheffield’s Mathieu Roy scored the game winner at 59.44. Cruel as it was Steve Thornton found some positives from the loss, “We’ve had too many of those one goal losses scored in the dying moments of the game. You create your own chances in sport, which the Giants are not doing at the moment.

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Director of Hockey Opporations for Belfast Steve Thornton scans his troops

By not capitalizing on your opportunities it puts huge back-pressure on the team when the puck isn’t bouncing your way and especially when they steal the puck from you. That when you have to make instant decisions, which have been the wrong decisions that cost us a goal and the game up to now.

These mistakes cost us the season and the Elite League Title and we have just four regular season games
to find a way to rectify these errors. If you look at the majority of our losses this season many have been just one-goal defeats.

We limited the Steelers’ twenty-five shots on Stephen Murphy tonight and on the road that was a great team effort. Giants’ Captain Adam Keefe actual stopped a shot on his facemask but still played on. We did a lot of things right but still lost the game with sixteen seconds on the game clock. We have to win games like that not lose them in the dying seconds.

Stephen Murphy was a busy ma in the Giants goal

Stephen Murphy’s return went well. We knew they would come at us hard in the opening period and we as a team, and especially Stephen Murphy who weathered that storm brilliantly.

We are trying to peak for the playoffs and have got most of our injured players back now for post-season play. Murphy wants more game time

experience to get match fit for the playoffs. Murph has to be our best player on the ice and steal games for us when the difference is just the goalie” concluded Thornton.

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Good friends Belfast’s Steve Thornton and Cardiff’s  Todd Kelman part company in Belfast-Kelman’s Devils pick up their first trophy of the  season with the Challenge Cup

On a completely different note Todd Kelman’s Cardiff Devils won their first Trophy of the season by defeating Sheffield Steelers 2-1 in the Challenge Cup final on Sunday night. They still are definitely in the hunt for the League title three points out of first place and being on a six game winning streak, Sheffield, Braehead and Cardiff are battling hard to lift this seasons Elite League Title. Giants go head to head against Nottingham this weekend in the Odyssey Arena and if the league tables stay roughly the same the Giants will be facing the Panthers in the Playoff quarterfinals as well.

 

Written By Wayne Hardman

 

 

 ELITE ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE STANDINGS 

GP REG OT/PS OT/PS REG PTS CURRENT

8/03/15

Wins Wins Losses Losses STREAK
 Braehead *

48

30

2

3

13

67

 2 Losses
 Sheffield *

47

27

4

4

12

66

 2 Wins
 Cardiff *

46

25

5

4

12

64

 6 Wins
 Nottingham *

48

22

5

6

15

60

 3 Wins
 Belfast *

48

23

2

5

18

55

 2 Losses
 Coventry

47

17

5

2

23

46

 6 Wins
 Fife

48

17

4

2

25

44

 1 Loss
 Hull

46

16

2

7

21

43

 2 Losses
 Edinburgh

46

11

6

5

24

39

 3 Losses
 Dundee

48

6

7

4

31

30

 1 Win

* Notes Team that made the playoff so far

 

 

Written by Wayne Hardman

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