Sheffield Steelers 9-5 Coventry Blaze (final score)

Steelers coach Paul Thompson
Steelers coach Paul Thompson
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Brad Day got the nod for a season-first start in goal for Sheffield Steelers tonight - but it was 16-year-old Maltby kid Liam Kirk who grabbed the headlines.

Day conceded more than he would have liked in a 'dead rubber' Challenge Cup group romp.

But Kirk had the Arena in raptures with his first goal for the champions.

Shefield Steelers haven't won the Challenge Cup since 2001/02 season but already have a foot in the quarter finals.

And they underlined their form in the competition when Colton Fretter back-handed in on the Power Play at 9;21.

Blaze managed their own PP reply, James Jorgensen lashing in from centre blue line past Day for 1-1 at 13;46.

But Steelers had not deserved to be pegged back in their first match since Tyler Mosienko parted company with the club, to pursue a career in Europe, possibly Frederikshavn of Denmark.

And two goals in 11 seconds put them on the right path.

Steelers, who won 4-3 in Coventry in the first round of the Challenge Cup group series in September, took the lead again when Markus Nilsson, playing in Mosienko's role, did all the hard work before Fretter got his second.

Then Mathieu Roy scored from close range at 15;03.

Blaze changed their goalie at the first break and had more urgency, Garrett Klotz chalking up an opportunistic strike to narrow the score.

Then Liam Stewart - son of pop superstar Rod - squeezed the puck into the corner..it was 3-3.

But the game was a low-intensity romp and Sheffield regained the lead through Levi Nelson.

Then the moment of the match, homegrown Kirk shooting through Renny Marr at 29:52.

Matt Marquardt got one back for Blaze, but after what seemed like a city-side celebration - everybody still wanting to pat the teenager on the back - Sheffield rattled in another from Mike Ratchuk to make it 6-4 in a 3-3 middle period.

suddenly, it seemed like every shot was suddenly finding the net.

Guillaume Desbiens hunted down the puck on the penalty kill to set up Luke Ferrara and then Roy fed Jesse Schultz to score.

Mark Cantin got one back as Coventry refused to go down without a fight.

Robert Dowd then intercepted a cross-ice puck and John Armstrong fired a mid-air puck home at 53:21 for 9-5!

The only downside of the night was an injury to Davey Phillips.

Coach Paul Thompson said: "What could have been just a dead-rubber game turned out to be anything other than that."

He said he had already made an offer for a replacement for Mosienko and could know an answer in 24 hours.

*RESULTS

Saturday 29th October

Elite League

Belfast Giants 3 Braehead Clan 2

Fife Flyers 3 Dundee Stars 2

Manchester Storm 2 Cardiff Devils 3 (OT)

Nottingham Panthers 2 Edinburgh Capitals 4

Challenge Cup Group B

Sheffield Steelers 9 Coventry Blaze 5

FIXTURES

Sunday 30th October

Elite League

Braehead Clan v Nottingham Panthers – 7.00pm

Cardiff Devils v Belfast Giants – 7.00pm

Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers – 7.00pm

Dundee Stars v Fife Flyers – 7.00pm

Edinburgh Capitals v Manchester Storm – 6.00pm