RYAN FINNERTY was ejected by ref Dean Smith after a confrontation at the end of a game-changing 0-2 period
Steelers, who’d led 3-1 at one stage, lost the game when the official awarded Blaze a penalty shot, in which they took the lead for the first time. Blaze went on to win 5-3.
Finnerty had a similar heckling session with Mike Hicks in their last game and is a critic of some Elite referees. His ‘abusive’ comments last night earned him a Game Misconduct - and couoldn’t have come at a worse time.
Steelers trail leaders Nottingham Panthers by nine points and now have just one game in hand..
Even at this stage of the season, it leaves a mountain to climb. They’d had an early set-back when Ross Venus put Blaze ahead but were soon level. Tylor Michel, who grabbed two against Nottingham on December 27 levelled. And at 7.20 Lee Esders scored his fourth goal of the season.
And Steelers cashed in on a Benn Olson hooking minor, top scorer Jeff Legue making it 3-1. It was his fourth
goal in six games. Blaze had no intention of letting the two-goal margin stand, though. The match was still only 10 minutes old when Paul Thompson’s men grabbed one back, through Brad Leeb. Ashley Tait had a goal disallowed against his old team. And it proved costly when Dustin Cameron - who loves playing against Sheffield - made it 3-3.
Anaheim Ducks lock-out left wing Matt Beleskey converted a penalty shot, low past John DeCaro.
Steelers, without Finnerty at the helm, battled hard but couldn’t break Blaze down. They conceded an empty netter at 59.07 from Beleskey.