MATCH REPORT: Steelers hold onto two goal lead

Game two in the Challenge Cup versus the Steelers would again prove fruitless, as the Storm were beaten 5-3 by their local rivals.

An impressive first period from the visiting Storm saw them create the vast majority of the scoring chances, in a free-flowing opening twenty minutes of action. An excellent double save from the debutant Brust thwarted Fawcett and Simmonds in the seventh minute. A flurry of minor penalties punctured the games rhythm, as both sides remained without a goal when the intermission buzzer sounded.

A five-goal middle stanza was kickstarted by a contentious opening goal in the 25th minute from Eberle, with video review footage proving conveniently difficult to analyse. The Steelers soon doubled their advantage when Vallerand neatly stickhandled beyond Ginn. A brief melee ensued, with Connolly sent to the box for charging.

Manchester found their opening goal through Ulrick, whose one-timer found a way beyond the imposing Brust. However, the hosts were able to restore their two-goal cushion moments later, when Todd was able to skate deep into the zone unaffected and tee-up Hodgman on the doorstep.

A game misconduct for interference assessed against Springer provided the perfect opportunity for the hosts to build an unassailable lead. When club captain Ehrhardt was sent to warm the penalty box, the Yorkshire side made the 5on3 opportunity count. Previous scorer Hodgman turned helper to feed Eberle in the slot and give the Steelers a 4-1 lead with twenty minutes left in the match.

A goaltender change by the Steelers saw the introduction of Churchfield for the final period. A good stop from Brust stopped VanWormer 1on1, and immediately afterwards the Steelers skated to the opposite end to score a fifth.

The final ten minutes saw both coaches using the lower parts of their rotation and this opportunity afforded youngsters Gulliver, Lutwyche and Ulrick some extra ice-time, at one point they operated on the ice simultaneously. The battling Brits were rewarded for their efforts when Wilson scored on the delayed penalty, with Lutchywe and Sullivan awarded the assists. The visitors gave themselves some hope when Ehrhardt’s wristshot snuck beyond Churchfield with a little over two minutes remaining. Unfortunately, this late fightback proved in vein, as the Steelers closed out a deserved 5-3 win to take themselves top of Group C.

Photo by Dean Woolley