Dundee Stars almost gave the crowd at Ice Sheffield a shock by leading Sheffield Steelers 4-3 into the final seconds of last night’s sole Elite Ice Hockey League match. However, a penalty shot from Shawn Limpright was enough to secure the home team both points.
The Steelers were slow to react to a Stars team eager to get back to winning ways following the total 9-1 drubbing subjected to them by Cardiff Devils last week. Matt Baxter fired the visitors ahead after just 34 seconds, swiftly followed by a Tristan Harper effort some time later in the first period. I’ve not been to a game at Ice Sheffield (or the Arena, for that matter) but I can imagine the atmosphere fell pretty flat by that point.
Sheffield got in the mood in the second period, outshooting the Stars 14 to 3 and they finished the half on level terms with Colin Shields and Steve Goertzen, the latter on a powerplay, grabbing two to tie the score 2-2. Captain Jonathan Phillips put the Steelers ahead for the first time in the third but Stars came back with two powerplay goals with Sheffield players getting sent off all over the place.
Towards the end, man of the match Tylor Michel scored with just over a minute to go to bring the scores level once more at 4-4. With the Stars net getting dislodged in the overtime period, Limpright stepped and converted the penalty shot, ending a dramatic league game for the Sheffield contingent.
That win sees Sheffield move back to second place in the overall Elite League standings, two points above Nottingham Panthers although they have played two games more. Belfast Giants remain top of the league and play their game in hand tomorrow night against Dundee, hoping to go three points clear. Both teams lost their last fixtures and will be hoping to correct a slide in the standings. The Stars, on the other hand, stay seventh after yesterday’s loss but maintain a healthy four point advantage over Hull Stingrays. They’re also still top of the Gardiner Conference, whilst the Steelers are continuing to hold off the Giants at the head of the Erhardt Conference.
Sheffield now look forward to a double Scottish fixture this weekend, entertaining Braehead on Saturday before hoping to build up a cricket score against bottom side Edinburgh Capitals.