Gerad Adams limped on to the Sheffield Steelers’ bench to take command of his first home game tonight. And it turned out to be an uplifting experience.
The new coach, who broke his leg badly in a fall off a roof in January, is clearly struggling to make a full recovery.
But he’d been hoping for a double winning weekend, following Saturday’s penalty shot victory at Nottingham Panthers would take his mind off his personal misfortune.
Fate engineered it that Adams was this evening up against Cardiff Devils, the club which dislodged him from his coaching role in December.
Steelers were without Mark Thomas and Steve Goertzen for the visit of Devils, who lost last night at home.
Yet the Arena side were in exhuberant form, D-man Danny Meyers scoring a rare goal inside the first minute and jason Hewitt adding a second before the first break.
In a lower tempo second session, Markus Rama and Max Lacroix traded goals, the Sheffield marker coming at 39;19, just at the right time.
Sheffield went on the goal rampage in the last period, Phil Hill, Chris Blight and Hewitt scoring, with Max Birbraer getting a consolation.
Gerad Adams found out how tough his job is going to be in the first eight minutes, last night.
But by the end of the evening, with a 3-2 win in his pocket, he also found out how magical it could be. Sheffield Steelers’ new coach took his team to Nottingham Panthers, for his first match in charge.
At 6;52 Panthers Matt Francis put one past Frank Doyle for 1-0 to Notts.
And two minutes later, David Clarke banged in a second for the former champions.
Leigh Salters, who has played so well against Sheffield this year, assisted on both.
Adams called his first Steelers Time Out as he tried to steady the ship.
Steelers had outshot Nottingham 13-5 in the first period but went in two down.
Chris Blight, an Adams player at Cardiff, fashioned a chance for Tim Spencer, who scored the first Steelers goal of the new era.
Once again Steelers had been the most offensive team: but hadn’t dragged the scoreline back in the middle session.
Steelers showed some muscle in the third, Drew Fata executed a huge hit, injuring Greg Jacina.
Craig Kowalski pulled off a couple of first-rate saves to deny a Steelers’ equaliser.
But he couldn’t stop Stefan Meyer profiting from an excellent Fata play to make it 2-2 on 57 minutes and take the game into overtime.
It was some level of reward for a Sheffield team who had dominated large spells.
Rob Dowd almost ended matters in the extra period when his shot hit the pipework.
But the final outcome was to be decided by penalty shots.
Blight and Max Lacroix did the business to afford a well deserved victory for Adams’ men.
Play offs? Bring it!
Period Scores: 2-0, 0-1, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1 (0-2)
Penalty Mins: Not 8+2+2=12, She 4+4+2=10
Powerplay: Not 0/3, She 0/4
Shots On: Craig Kowalski 13+17+15+2=47, Frank Doyle 5+6+6+0=17
Referee: Michael Hicks
Full weekend wrap-up: see Monday’s Star.
RESULTS: Saturday 1st March
Braehead Clan 2 Edinburgh Capitals 1
Cardiff Devils 3 Coventry Blaze 4 (PS)
Fife Flyers 4 Belfast Giants 5 (OT)
Hull Stingrays 1 Dundee Stars 2
Nottingham Panthers 2 Sheffield Steelers 3 (PS)