Manchester Storm 1 – 4 Sheffield Steelers
A sold out crowd at Altrincham Ice Arena saw the Manchester Storm falling to their neighbours from over the Pennines in the Sheffield Steelers, as ill discipline cost Omar Pacha’s side with his team having to face 11 powerplay in the game and almost play the second half of the contest with a man down.
Last year saw a thrilling game between the two sides in the last sellout game at the rink, however for one reason or another the home side never really got into the contest. Sheffield got the better of Storm the night before in the ‘Steel City’ with a late goal and with powerplay chances falling the way of the team in Orange, it was always likely that they bury one sooner than later.
That chance came in 13th minute when Mike Ratchuk put the visitors ahead on the powerplay as Manchester captain Trevor Johnson was serving a penalty. The home side had chances themselves but Sheffield’s netminder Ervins Mustukovs was equal to the shots. Manchester felt aggrieved in the game throughout, as some clear calls in the game were not being given in their favour and instead had them taking the bulk of the penalties of which some were born out of frustration.
Photos by Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography
One example was Mario Valery-Trubucco getting a high hit on the glass from a Sheffield man, but then after making a comment towards referee Michael Hicks he sat for an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty. That comment led to a frantic passage of play, as firstly Mark Heatley saw his effort bouncing off the bar and then had the Steelers breaking up ice and making it a 2-0 game through John Armstrong.
Second stanza saw the ill discipline rearing its ugly head again for the Storm and after having a rare powerplay opportunity it then saw Mark Heatley landing a big hit on a Sheffield man from behind and picking up a 10 minute call. Towards the back end of the period it got worse for the home side as they lost Connor Varley to a game penalty for a high sticks, which made Storm’s short bench even shorter.
Third period had Sheffield making the most of their bigger bench and tired Manchester side with all the penalties the home side had taken when Mike Ratchuk fired in his second of the game when unmarked at the front of goal and that made it 3-0 and game over. Manchester did have one moment of joy as Darian Dziurzynski found the back of the Steelers net to make it a 3-1 game and give a glimmer of hope to a slim comeback.
Those hopes were dashed with 11 second on the clock as Robert Dowd fire the puck into an empty net and gave the Sheffield side a 4-1 win and sees the South Yorkshire -side still unbeaten against the Storm in the Elite League.
Manchester – Darian Dziurzynski 1+0, Matt Bissonnette 0+1, Mario Valery-Trubucco 0+1
Sheffield – Mike Ratchuk 2+0, John Armstrong 1+0, Rob Dowd 1+0, Levi Nelson 0+2, Ben O’ Connor 0+2 Mathieu Roy 0+1, Markus Nilsson 0+1
Manchester 55 PIMS Sheffield 8 PIMS
Manchester – Mike Clemente 33 Shots – saves 30
Sheffield – Ervins Mustukovs 28 Shots – saves 27