Steelers chalked up their best result of the season last night, a sensational six-goal mauling of Cardiff on Welsh ice. They beat the Devils 6-0 after Coventry Blaze went down 2-1 at the Arena on Saturday.
New netminder Josh Unice backstopped the side to emphatic shut-out and new winger Tomas Petruska notched the opener.
What will Josh make of his maiden weekend? Will some of it seem double-Dutch for the former college kid from Holland, Ohio?
On Saturday, he struggled to keep warm in the cavernous Sheffield Arena, where the opposition, an unambitious Coventry, managed a feeble 14 shots. It was a modest challenge, at best.
Last night, he witnessed the other side of Brit hockey, facing Cardiff in the passionate, prefab they call the Big Blue Tent.
The boy from small town America (his home town’s the same population size as Wharncliffe Side) saw his side steamroller Devils with a display that will start title talk again.
What a crazy, fantastic start to anyone’s career!
On Saturday, Unice made a confidence-building first pad save at 2;15 but his defence let him down immediately after. Gord Baldwin’s pass was intercepted and while Unice got a glove to Jereme Tendler’s shot, it trickled in.
After seven losses out of eight Arena league games, Steelers didn’t need any more errors, although a Ben O’Connor slip-up almost let in Blaze.
Yet Sheffield forced the play, within second new signing Petruska showing more offensive potential than the man he replaced, Danny Bois.
Tyler Mosienko’s speed hinted at an equaliser but we had to wait for a PP leveller, Cullen Eddy punishing Steve Goertzen’s interference, with a lavishly-slapped blast from point at 16;21.
Unice kept the score at 1-1 with a fine glove save from Cale Tanaka. The American goalie and his Blaze counterpart then defied the next 20 minutes worth of chances. Brian Stewart stopped Eddy, who was clear through. He diverted other chances from Rob Dowd and Jeff Legue, whose line with Mosienko was high on energy.
But Jakub Sindel wriggled away from a tussel with Jason Hewitt and had to be stopped by Unice. A shot from Ross Venus then pounded off Unice’s right shoulder.
Steelers threw everything but the kitchen sink at Coventry in the final 20.
Blaze resembled a sponge intent on dampening the match rather than setting fire to it.
Unice must have thought he was being paid money for old rope as he had just two shots to save, with 13 going in at the other end.
You’d have bet on overtime, but Jeff Legue stepped up with the winner with three seconds remaining.
Last night, Petruska got off the mark with a rebound at Cardiff at 8;38. after Mathieu Roy had tested goalie Ben Bowns.
Devils came closest to parity when Andrew Lord hit the bar in the 22nd minute.
But Steelers trebled their lead in two devastating minutes from Mike Forney and Mosienko.
And with Unice repelling Devils’ faltering attacks the stage was set for a Welsh humiliation with Forney making it 4-0.
Two lovely goals from Mosikeno and Legue completed the agony for Devils - and presented the EIHL with quite an astonishing result.