Steelers extinguish Blaze with overtime win Steelers record their fifth win out of their last six games with an impressive come from behind win against the Blaze

SHEFFIELD, U.K. – In a rare one game weekend, the Sheffield Steelers delighted their fans with an impressive and hard fought come from behind win against the Coventry Blaze at the Motorpoint Arena.Steelers_logo_11

Great Britain international Robert Dowd decided the outcome of the game when he fired home on a breakaway in overtime to ensure the Steelers took the extra point, placing them joint second in the league with Dundee after a 5-4 victory over Coventry.

The Blaze were boosted by the return of the influential Henrich brothers, with both playing a major role in the game.

The visitors took the lead on the powerplay after just two minutes when towering Swedish blueliner Ken Kallstrom blasted a shot home from the point through traffic to give his side a 1-0 lead.

The Steelers pressed and almost levelled at 04:39 when Captain Steve Goertzen had his shot deflected high into the stands after a terrific defensive play from Ross Venus backchecking on the play and doing enough to deflect a goal bound Goerzen shot out of play.

The Blaze countered with a chance of their own when Michael Henrich found himself on a breakaway at 05:28 only to be denied by a great blocker save from Steelers netminder Frank Doyle.

Coventry were once again on the powerplay when Dustin Kohn was assessed a high sticking minor in the sixth minute, putting the hosts under pressure.

Just 62 seconds into the man advantage the Blaze capitalised once again courtesy of American defenceman Mike Devin whose point shot through traffic beat Doyle low to give the visitors a healthy 2-0 lead at 07:49.

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Gord Baldwin scores two vital goals for the Steelers (Image courtesy of Dean Woolley)

The Steelers were well and truly on the back foot when Shea Guthrie added third for Midlands outfit after he pounced on a loose puck after a failed Frank Doyle attempted poke check. Guthrie then rounded Doyle to sail the puck home into an empty net much to the delight of the vocal travelling Blaze fans.

The hosts regrouped and almost pulled a goal back when former NHL’er Stefan Meyer fired agonisingly wide with a backhand attempt from his knees in the twelfth minute.

The Steelers were handed a powerplay chance of their own late in the period when Ken Kallstrom was sent to the box for a high-sticking minor at 17:10.

Sheffield duly took advantage when Gord Baldwin directed a shot through a screen to beat Mike Zacharias low blocker side for his third goal of the season after a nice feed from Jeff Legue at 17:40.

The Steelers added a second shortly after when Steve Goertzen cut in front of goal on the powerplay once again and lodged the puck past Zacharias as he was falling to the ice just 19 seconds after Baldwin’s goal.

The two quick fire goals for the hosts ensured that the second period wouldn’t be so daunting after reducing the arrears to just one goal.

The second period was a scoreless affair between the two rivals with both teams offering efforts with Sirianni and Goertzen coming close for Sheffield and Ginand and Tait threatening for the visitors.

The game did heat up at 31:04 when Steelers forward Stefan Meyer and Blaze tough guy Benn Olson had a minor disagreement resulting in the pair trading gloved punches and sitting out coincidental minors for their troubles.

The rest of the period passed by with very little to report, ensuring that the visitors went into the final period with a one-goal cushion.

Sheffield came out of the gates flying for the third period and soon restored parity when Tim Spencer more known for his pugilistic abilities showed great composure and used his hands to better effect when he jammed the puck past Zacharias after a goalmouth scramble at 44:23 to make it 3-3.

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Robert Dowd ensures Steelers get the win with the OT winner (Image courtesy of Dean Woolley)

Steelers’ veteran Jeff Legue was assessed a slashing minor by Referee Mike Hicks allowing the Blaze their fifth powerplay opportunity of the game at 46:07.

Just 31 seconds into the man advantage the Blaze capitalised after Adam Henrich was the first to react to a rebound after a point shot from his brother Michael fell nicely to him and Adam tapped it past Doyle close range to regain the one-goal lead for his side.

The Steelers pressed and with ten minutes remaining they had the Blaze penned in their own zone. Drew Fata came agonisingly close to levelling when his ferocious slapshot rattled the post at 51:40.

With just over 3 minutes of the game remaining Gord Baldwin was ‘Jonny on the spot’ to redirect a Jeff Legue pass high past Zacharias at the back post to tie the game up on the powerplay at 56:37 ensuring the vocal crowd were on the edge of their seats for a nail biting finish.

The Blaze offered the first real effort in overtime when Adam Henrich forced Frank Doyle into making a great low leg pad save just 43 seconds into extra time.

The hosts countered and defenceman Dustin Kohn found Robert Dowd with a precise pass and set him on a breakaway. Despite Blaze forward Cale Tanaka’s best efforts on the backcheck, Dowd held Tanaka off and fired a blistering wristshot from the slot high past Zacharias to send the arena into raptures with his decisive goal at 63:19.

Steelers Head Coach Doug Christiansen spoke about his teams win, “We were really bad in the first ten minutes, and I don’t think you could hide from that. We were down 3-0 and the leaders of the team really elevated themselves and we got back in it,” Christiansen said.

“The character they showed to come back from behind twice in the third period, that’s what good teams do and we are a decent team right now,” Christiansen added.

Contact the author at Scott.antcliffe@prohockeynews.com

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