Sheffield Steeldogs had a home and away Christmas series losses against Hull Pirates (8-4 and 3-2) but delivered two very different performances.
The game up in Hull didn’t start well as the Steeldogs conceded on an early power play and then had Donatas Kumeliauskas thrown out following a high hit.
Hull scored again on the following major penalty and dominated the first period to take a 4-1 lead in to the break.
Sheffield battled to get into the game but the second period saw Hull score three more times but on each occasion the Steeldogs quickly found an answering goal.
The bad blood continued in to the final 20 minutes and following an exchange between Ryan Watt and Pavel Mrna, the Steeldogs big Czech earning a misconduct penalty that ultimately saw him ejected from his second straight game in Hull as the Dogs lost 8-4.
The return game at iceSheffield proved a very different affair – a tense, high-paced game that could have gone either way.
Despite the Steeldogs only having three of their five imports available, they matched the Pirates through the first two periods but conceded a goal late on to Dominic Osman.
That late goal set up an even more frenetic final period; ex-Steeldog Stanislav Lascek edged Hull further ahead on power play but Arnoldas Bosas struck back within 14 seconds. More Sheffield pressure led to a power play from which young Liam Kirk levelled with a rocket like shot.
A hooking call on Bosas led to a goal for Ugnius Cizas and despite some near misses, the Steeldogs couldn’t find a goal to send the game to overtime.
Player/Coach Greg Wood was pleased with the reaction he got from his players after the defeat in Hull saying; “We were great tonight, we dominated for long periods of the game. We were playing short benched but showed a lot of energy with all three lines working. We gave up two power play goals and that needs to be addressed and we will work on that in practice.
“The guys worked real hard we took it right to the wire, so all in all a great game but we came out on the wrong side of the result. We showed after last night how much that result hurt and the performance level was so much better tonight and in time we know that will reflect in the win column”.
Steeldogs will start 2017 with another home and away series, travelling to Peterborough on New Year’s Day before the Phantoms come to iceSheffield on Monday the 2nd (7:30 face-off)