Defence lifts Steelers to second

SHEFFIELD, UK – Prior to this weekend’s games Sheffield Steelers forward Ashley Tait described the upcoming schedule as, “A crucial three games in four nights” and so it proved.

First they had to take care of Cardiff on the road, which they did, 2-1,on Thursday, then it was back to the Motorpoint Arena for back-to-back games against Fife and Hull on Saturday and Sunday respectfully.

Before those two gameSheffield Steelers icons even got going the Steelers knew they had a chance of jumping up a place in the table thanks to Belfast’s surprising 5-2 defeat at home to Coventry on Friday night.

That opened the door for Sheffield and they didn’t waste the opportunity, two goals in the first period and one in the second were enough to see off Fife 3-0 on Saturday with John DeCaro turning away all nineteen Flyer shots to record only his second shutout of the season.

Soon that total would, much like the Steelers goal tally, increase by one the following night. This time DeCaro had to play second fiddle to Shawn Limpright, who laid claim to a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory over bottom of the table Hull, leaving DeCaro to face only seventeen shots for shutout number three.

So now it’s Sheffield who leads the charge towards the league leading Nottingham Panthers. Their weekend went as planned with a 7-3 win over Braehead headlined by another hat-trick, this time for Brandon Benedict, on Saturday while Sunday saw another two points added to their total thanks to a 5-3 triumph over Fife.

Elsewhere on day two of the three day weekend Belfast gained revenge for defeat the previous night with a more routine 8-2 defeat of Coventry. Inform Edinburgh continued their late season playoff push by matching the Giants score, with an 8-2 win at home to Dundee and Hull scored less than three minutes from the end of the third period to steal a 2-1 win at home to Cardiff.

Sunday saw Edinburgh’s good run come to an end at the hands of the Blaze, who scored a goal in each of the three periods to cancel out the Capitals two powerplay goals in a 3-2 triumph. Finally Cardiff came away from their home patch with a shootout win over Dundee, Mark Richardson putting away the winning shot to bring the curtain down on another exciting and unpredictable weekend in the Elite League.

Jon.Chubb@prohockeynews.com

Twitter @prohockeynews

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