Sheffield Steelers stay in title race with dramatic 5-4 victory at Cardiff

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Steelers promised they’d make a fight of the League title - and they didn’t disappoint with a stirring victory at Cardiff.

An inspirational 5-4 win made up for the morale-sapping defeat against the same team at the Arena on Saturday.

Tyler Mosienko - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

Tyler Mosienko - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

It is still advantage Devils, who are two points ahead at the top of the table and have a game in hand on second-placed Steelers.

But 14 points remain on the table for Sheffield before the end of the league season.

And with Tyler Mosienko in such astonishing form - he bagged five over the weekend - anything is possible.

Coach Paul Thompson said: “We are not going away - if Cardiff are to win the League they will have the pressure of us buzzing around near them every night. Our third period performance was unbelievable and I was very proud of them.”

Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

Sunday’s early promise from Sheffield was seemingly stifled when Leigh Salters exposed a poor line change and opened the scoring for Cardiff at 4;05.

But Mosienko scored, partly by the sheer force of his determination, on the Power Play at 18;02.

Coach Thompson had tinkered with Steelers’ formation, playing Mathieu Roy with Conny Stromberg and Fredrick Vestberg and they clicked at 19:57, Stomberg giving Sheffield a lead. It was his fourth goal in 15 matches...and a welcome one.

Both sides were level again at 24;36, though, with Zach Hervato making it 2-2.

Levi Nelson - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

Levi Nelson - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

It was a thrilling contest. Devils had goalie Ben Bowns to thank when three Steelers skaters broke clear and then again when Roy looked about to net - while the home side had a goal washed out.

Then two in 74 seconds - Stromberg and Josh Batch trading markers.

But Strormberg was on a roll and he and Rod Sarich engineered a Roy goal for 4-3 at 42;24.

The see-saw scoring (four in five minutes) then featured a Tomas Kurka equaliser.

Paul Thompson - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

Paul Thompson - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 20/02/16

Crazy stuff - but more was to follow, when Steelers helped themselves to a 5-4 win with Mosienko’s second, in a remarkable night of hockey.

On Saturday, Steelers looked opportunistic around goal in a one-sided start.

Some of the 7,300 fans had just taken their seats when ever-adventurous Jace Coyle blasted just wide from between the circles.

But the d-man made up for the miss at 2;51 when his shot was deflected home by Mosienko.

It seemed Sheffield were in for a great Arena night, with Levi Nelson benefitting from an intelligent passing service, although he couldn’t make the most of it.

Roy is often the victim of a lot of physical aggression from defenceman around the opposition net but his head was almost put through the plexi-glass by Carl Hudson...in Steelers’ own zone.

His thinking was cleared though when Ben O’Connor skated in from the right wing to select a precise pass to Mosienko and it was 2-0 at 23;05.

That lead was havled when a smart passing move set up Kurka for 2-1.

And five minutes later the pendulum had swung, Andrew Lord measured a slide-rule shot past O’Connor and low into the net, with Marek Pinc unsighted.

The game’s turning point came at 35;57 when a Jace Coyle pass hit Mosienko’s moving right foot went in the net, but was ruled out for ‘kicking.’

Sheffield were over-run in the third period, which started with O’Connor hooking the puck off his own line. Pinc looked vulnerable when Joey Martin approached and his shot beat him near post.

Pinc then gave up a big rebound and Ryan Russell made it 2-4.

It made me wonder what South Yorkshireman Bowns was doing in the opposition goal - and why Steelers had never made him their number one.

Mosienko capped a fine personal performance with a final goal.