Ice Hockey: Sheffield Steelers 2 Coventry Blaze 3 - Weekend round-up

Action from Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze at the Arena
Action from Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze at the Arena

The only positive about being beaten twice in 15 days by the bottom of the league team is that you are not surrendering points to genuine title contenders.

But it wasn't much consolation for Steelers, who had been looking to chalk up their sixth straight win in the league, against Coventry Blaze, at the Arena.

Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze

Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze

A winning habit is a good one to have - especially at the half way point of the season. But just as soon as the hot run of form came, it went.

Sheffield are now going to have to pick themselves up before the visit of Nottingham Panthers, on Boxing Day.

They will be desperate to get two points in front of more than 8,000 fans.

Coventry, who inflicted Steelers last defeat a 0-2 shout-out on December 5, similarly restricted the home side to shots on goal in the opening minutes of Sunday night.

It was Marek Pinc, who is making a serious case to be retained for the season, who was working the hardest.

Goalie Pinc looks imperious at times, effortlessly glove catching and then instantly switching the puck out to a d-man to keep the play alive.

With so much defensive mastery, intercepted passes and turnovers it was difficult to guess who would score first, but Rob Dowd answered the question at 12;14.

He found some room on the right flank and rifled across Brian Stewart.

The lead lasted just two minutes, when Cale Tanaka executed a similar chance at the other end.

The middle period had the same high intensity - it was all passing and harassing from both sides. But the only goal fell to the Blaze; they attacked on the counter and Josh Godfrey banged home their go-ahead goal.

Coventry, who went to penalty shots to beat Dundee Stars 4-3, the night before, were super- efficient in the way they policed Sheffield's attacks.

A Steeler power lay shot on their goal smashed straight into Mathieu Roy's midriff - representing the lack of progress, offensively.

Blaze goalie Stewart, who stretches mid-game more than any goalie I've ever seen - had to be put under much more severe pressure in the final session.

Steelers upped their pressure and one of the least like players you'd expect to score, d-man Russ Moyer brought them back level at 2-2.

The stage was set for a pre-Xmas win, but Jordan Pietrus ruined it for Sheffield, when he cashed in on a horrible defensive mistake with 23 seconds left.

*On Saturday, Steelers executed a slick game plan to take both points at Braehead.

They built up a 5-2 lead going into the third period and then executed the perfect 0-0 road period.

Roy scored and made goal for Jeff Legue inside the first three minutes to set them on the way.

Fredrick Vestberg and Matt Haywood traded goals before the first session was out.

Clan must have felt they were in with a chance at the first break, but Luke Ferrara scored the all important fourth goal to effectively put the game out the Scots' reach.

Levi Nelson and Matthew Keith added extras for either side.